By SABRINA GARRETT
The Wilson Post
Lebanon Police Departments Youth Academy will celebrate their graduation today at 1 p.m.
The graduation ceremony will take place at City Hall in the Town Meeting Room, Chief Scott Bowen said, inviting the public to attend. He noted that this will be the LPDs second Youth Academy class to graduate from the five-day program.
We have had our Citizens Academy for 15 years, but we didnt allow anybody under the age of 18 to attend. My staff came up with this idea and geared it toward our youth, he said.
Thirty-one students, ages 12-18, have completed this years program, which focused on team building and leadership.
We have physical fitness, crime science but it is not just about law enforcement. It is about positive decision making, Bowen said. Our staff gets involved and enjoys it as much, if not more, than the kids do. Im blessed to have those people that really like to deal with youth.
Bowen said that yesterday, with the assistance of Lebanon Special School Districts Director of Schools Scott Benson, students were transported to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for a field trip.
We want our people to be mentors to these young people and we also use it as a recruiting tool. We are always looking to recruit dispatchers and police officers, he said.
Besides offering a fun course for children to enjoy during the second week of their fall break, Bowen hopes that completing the program will help them view law enforcement in a different light. We want them to know that we are there to help them. Unfortunately, they see a lot of the negative side when we are out and have to write somebody a citation.
Each student will receive a graduation certificate and T-shirt keepsake.
Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.