Path Home Shows 2016 Show Archive March 2016 Show 1613 Law Enforcement Officer Prep

Law Enforcement Officer Prep

Students prepare for careers in law enforcement through courses in police fundamentals, defensive tactics, technical investigation and criminal law.
Law Enforcement Officer Prep

Law Enforcement Officer Prep

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Metro Technology Centers

Francis Tuttle Technology Center

CareerTech

Show Details

Show 1613: Law Enforcement Officer Prep
Air Date: March 27, 2016

 

Transcript

Rob McClendon: Well, it’s no secret that law enforcement has been under great scrutiny as of late, yet it is a career option that many young people want to pursue. That’s why CareerTech offers 12 different law enforcement programs around the state. As our Blane Singletary reports, these cadet programs give the students a head start into law enforcement.

Blane Singletary: The mile and a half run has just begun at the Oklahoma City Sheriff Office’s Physical Fitness Challenge. These young have come to hone their skills and engage in some healthy competition.

Johnnie Laudermilk: The students were wondering why they were always working out and we were encouraging them to continue working out.

Blane: That’s Johnnie Laudermilk, an instructor at Francis Tuttle Technology Center. He helped start the fitness challenge several years ago. He says physical fitness is important because that’s what agencies will be looking for when it comes time for these cadets to apply.

Laudermilk: So we found that it not only motivated them to work out, but it also gave us an opportunity to mix law enforcement with our cadet classes to improve the education that we’re providing for these students.

Blane: These cadets have to be at the top of their game, physically, mentally and so much more. And yet, these teens and young adults have chosen to commit themselves to this difficult profession.

Andrea Wood: Ever since I’ve been a little girl, I’ve always wanted to be a police officer. I’m fascinated with the idea of serving and protecting in whatever way I can, and it’s a great opportunity.

Blane: Andrea Wood is a senior in Metro Tech’s pre-law enforcement program.

Wood: My hope is to go to college, get a degree and then come back and apply for Oklahoma City.

Blane: And every one of these cadets, from 12 different programs at tech centers across the state, has a different reason for stepping up to the challenge. Amanda English is the head instructor for the program at Metro Tech.

Amanda English: They want to change their own life. They want to do something different. They want to be a part of something like law enforcement that’s a brotherhood. And the more they get involved in it, the more the go back to their home high school and they talk with all kinds of enthusiasm. And it just pays itself forward.

Blane: English, with nearly two decades of law enforcement experience herself, says the program at Metro Tech is especially important for this reason. Many inner city police departments around the country don’t have much inner city representation. And Metro Tech, located in northwest Oklahoma City, serves many students who live in this poorer, inner city area.

English: A lot of them come from really rough neighborhoods. They come from neighborhoods where it’s easier to do the wrong thing than it is to the right thing. And there is the drive in them. I think it’s inherent in who they are, and it’s a matter of connecting them with the right way and the right path and the right people to gain that success.

Blane: While this class meets in a classroom, very little of their time is spent here in a textbook. Aside from the strenuous physical training, these students work on discipline as well as communication, interview skills and connecting with the community they could one day serve.

English: I would say about 95 percent of police work is relationships and communication. Part of connecting them with the community is they’re a direct reflection. They’re raised in that kind of chaos and so they’re able to relate directly with the community more so than somebody who isn’t.

Blane: Along with connecting with the community, they also connect with officers and professionals in the law enforcement field. The class is partnered with the Oklahoma City Police Department, and Sgt. Tomas Daughtery is embedded in their class.

Tomas Daughtery: I got the best job on the department. What I get to do is I get to come out here and spend time with these students and implement all our OCPD standards. We put a lot of our standards much like our police academy standards are. You know, they do a lot of regiment stuff. They understand what to expect later on.

Blane: And in turn, the students gain a new perspective about their neighborhood policemen that they can’t get anywhere else. Again, Andrea Wood.

Wood: What I wasn’t really expecting was, I think after getting to know all the officers, it was just seeing such a human side of them, you know, which is something most of the community doesn’t always get to see. They come in with their uniforms on all shined up, and you feel that little sinking. But then like, you know, he’ll just tell you a story about all the work, you know, they’re always connecting with the community, and you just see that they’re people.

Blane: And the biggest thing that they gain is a community of their own. Over time, these cadets band together and form their own unit. They actively encourage each other to conquer the task at hand.

Wood: After you’ve been on the ground doing pushups with them or running around just motivating each other, you really feel like a family, and it’s a bond you can’t break.

Blane: It’s that bond that will carry them through even the toughest challenges law enforcement presents. And Amanda English says times have never been tougher.

English: At the end of the day, I’m absolutely proud of each one of these students for making a decision like this when it’s not popular. It’s not any secret that being in law enforcement right now is not a popular choice. So it’s actually helped me grow. I’ve learned more from a group of high school students probably than they’ve ever learned from me.

Blane: It’s true grit that got all of these cadets from all over the state to this point. And Sgt. Daughtery says it’s that same determination that will continue to push them ahead.

Daughtery: Again, this is their opportunity, this is their dream, and we’re simply here to kind of help out any way we can. We hope that they’ll one day be able to wear this uniform.

Rob: Now, if you’d like to see some of the cool things these students get to do, I do have some links to past stories that show the hands-on skills being taught in CareerTech classrooms around the state. Just head over to okhorizon.com and look under our value added section.