Students at Keith Middle School received a behind-the-scenes look at police work this fall through the Junior Police Academy, an eight-week program led by New Bedford Police Department School Resource Officer Julio Barbosa.
Through this program, 25 students learned different aspects of police work, including handcuffing, physical fitness, and different types of laws.
Participation is entirely voluntary. The program is held twice a year, in the spring and fall, and participants meet after school with Officer Barbosa.
Academies are scheduled to begin soon at Normandin and Roosevelt middle schools, as well as the next class at Keith.
“The goal of this program is to educate the students on the responsibility of being a police officer. I explain the chain of command of the police department and how the police department functions,’’ Officer Barbosa said. “My goal is that, by the end of this academy, each student will understand the job of a police officer and walk out of my class looking at a police officer as a positive role model.’’
During one of their classes, students had the chance to sit in a cruiser, initiative the siren and lights, and learn about how suspects are secured in the back seat, for their safety and the safety of the officers.
Officer Barbosa said he hopes the students will understand the importance of law enforcement. “We want to educate the students to always do the right thing and always follow directions given by any law enforcement officer.’’
Announcements are made two weeks before the academy starts. Parents interested in signing up a child may call Officer Barbosa at Keith Middle School at 508-910-0999 x 2276.