Sheriff’s camp shows teens what it’s like to be a cop
|Photo courtesy of Sgt. Berley McCarter|
THE REAL DEAL: Explorers Brice Palumbo, Amanda McCarte, and Joseph Schnider in training with unidentified teacher (above) and Deputy Berley McCarter, below..
The week-long training course is held annually in June and costs $175 per applicant.
“St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s office began the Law Enforcement Explorer Program in 1997,” Sgt. Berley McCarter, St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s deputy and project coordinator told the Herald-Guide.
“Since then we’ve had approximately 136 active members,” he said.
Participants can expect an intense military style training to give them a realistic experience on what is required of law enforcement officers.
“The camp is tough, especially on the initial first days and the kids have to be prepared for the fact that it will not be easy,” McCarter said.
“Some kids chose not to stick with program but most of them have stayed with it for at least three years on an average,” he continued.
McCarter said the explorer program’s mission is to build respect, self-esteem and discipline in young adults.
“When these kids go through the explorer program, no one is trying to force them to have a career as a police officer,” he said.
“As long as the students learn, to respect themselves, their community, and the men and women who put on their uniforms everyday to protect and serve the public, that’s good enough to me.”
McCarter said he would like to see more kids enroll in the program because it teaches lifelong lessons the students need to be successful in their lives.
“I speak about the program at the middle and local high schools in St. Charles Parish and I try to get kids to sign up,” he said.
“Some of the older teens seemed to be influenced by peer pressure,” he continued.
“With so many negative images portrayed in the media about police officers no one wants to be the ‘kid that hangs with the cops’,” he said.
“This year we’re fortunate to have three St. Charles Parish students going to the camp:
Major Amanda McCarter, 19 Nicholls State University (Graduate of Destrehan High School) 3rd year at the academy, Cadet Ashton Whann, 16 Destrehan High School, second year at the academy and Bertand Vicko, Destrehan High School will attend the academy for the first time,” he said.
“But it would be nice to have more kids participating,” he continued.
“The students will be taking classes like crime scene investigation, hostage negotiation, and will receive handgun training at the rifle range.” For more information about the explorer program, or to sponsor a student, contact Sgt. Berley McCarter at 985-783-1355.
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