From fingerprints to crime scenes; Kids get first-hand look at law enforcement

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio – A group of kids participated in Cleveland Heights' first ever youth police academy and learned about the men and women behind the badge.

The program is designed to give kids, ages 12 to 16, a look at what patrol officers, crime scene investigators and detectives do on the job everyday.

Some of the lessons include swat-team tactics and fingerprint dusting.

The teacher, Sgt. Sean Corrigan said, "We're trying to imprint positive encounters with police. That being, they can go home and tell their friends that they encountered police and we're just like they are."

Chief Annette Mecklenburg said, "Most times when we interact or come in contact with people it's usually in a crisis situation. This gives us the opportunity to get to know some of the kids in our community and for them to get to know us."

Students also learned about canine and bike patrols and radar; positive perspectives from a profession sometimes viewed in a negative light.

Participant Toni Trent says, "Usually, people think oh, cops are bad and stuff, but I've lived in Cleveland Heights my whole life and I've always known them, I've always been around them."

Students voluntarily signed up for the free, week long summer program, and on Friday, they will receive certificates during a graduation ceremony.

This is the first year the youth police academy has been held in Cleveland Heights, but the department is hoping to eventually expand the program during the school year as well.