Salisbury Police Youth Citizens Academy teaches realities of policing to high schoolers

Published 12:05 am Friday, April 26, 2024

SALISBURY — Summer is just around the corner and students will have more free time to spend hanging out with friends, playing video games and going on family vacations. However, all those weeks and months of not being at school can lead some students into trouble. As crime in Salisbury continues to damage people’s lives, the Salisbury Police Department has devised a potential solution that doesn’t involve brute force on their part. 

Officer Isaac Miller, who works as a resource officer at Salisbury High School, and Corporal Shakya Jackson have spearheaded the formation of the Salisbury Police Youth Citizens Academy that lets high school students spend a week absorbing what goes on backstage when it comes to law enforcement. 

“You hear about gun violence, car B&Es. Most of the crime that is committed in this city is from our youth. We see a necessity to have these types of things where we do meet with the youth and we try to meet them where they are,” Miller said.

According to Miller, the academy has students in a “classroom setting” to gain knowledge from different officers across multiple departments on what they actually do while also doing hands-on activities. The academy will take place at the department building over the course of one week in June and another in July. 

“We find that a lot of people, young people more specifically, don’t know what law enforcement does. Our program, what we want to do, is bridge the gap between the young people in our community and law enforcement. We try to do things centered around education of what we do as far as traffic stops, DWI situations,” Miller said. 

A few of the topics the academy will dive into are crime scene/forensics, narcotics, traffic unit, K-9 unit, firearm safety, conflict resolution, crisis intervention team, patrol procedures, criminal investigations and teen court. 

“We want the youth to not only learn about police functions, but also think about what their role is in contributing to a safer city,” Jackson said.

Back in 2018, the department ended their association with the Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T) program and Miller and Jackson both believe the academy fills a need to reach high schoolers in a friendly environment.

Miller and Jackson studied what other nearby municipalities have done with similar initiatives to tailor what they feel would be best for the Salisbury youth while also receiving feedback from older and younger officers. Though the academy’s subject matter is geared towards high school-age students, there is a possibility to offer an identical academy for younger students. 

At the beginning and end of each week of the academy, participants will take a survey asking them their thoughts on the police so that the department can discover how they did. 

As the academy draws nearer, the Salisbury Police Department is looking forward to guiding students down a potential path of future success. 

“Many people tend to think they know everything about the law just by watching social media, but this program will provide them with real-life scenarios and a different perspective. I believe this will be very beneficial for their education,” Jackson said. 

To register for the academy, go to