Local law enforcement hope to inspire young students

Three day youth academy camp teaches students about the justice system and responsibilities of law enforcement
Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 4:16 PM CDT
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MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (WIFR) - Local law enforcement leaders are hosting a three day youth academy camp for students grades 7-12, educating them on what first responders do on a daily basis and how they can keep themselves safe.

More than a dozen students enrolled in the academy ready to learn. The interactive camp allows students to engage in activities with each other, learning how to communicate and work together. Officers also teach scenario-based training and show them the dangers of drunk driving.

Winnebago County Sherriff’s Department Senior Deputy Jeff Schewe says local officers host the academy annually.

“The kids are the reason that a lot of us got into law enforcement,” Schewe said. “I hope it inspires them and I hope it gets them thinking about maybe this is a career that I wanna do.”

Schewe says they had to cancel last year because of the pandemic. He feels educating youth in the community is important now more than ever before.

“Law enforcement, we’re in need right now and will all the negativity and the defunding the police you know, we wanna, we need good people so we wanna inspire others to do this,” Schewe said.

Seventeen-year-old Noah Brockway says he’s wanted to be a police officer since he was just four years old. He joined the program to learn more about his dream job.

“I’ve always wanted to just help people, just the whole community and like first responders and stuff is always just kind of, I’ve always felt like drawn to it and just your day to day being so different from the last and keeping you on your toes it just seems like a good fit for me,” Brockway said.

Noah feels this academy will give him and others the knowledge they need to pursue a career in law enforcement.

“It’s just kind of a good feeling that you know you’ve got a bunch of good kids especially as young as a lot of us are feeling so drawn to it,” Brockway said. “Especially in a time where you know it seems kind of far and rare but I think a good look on the community will also benefit just it’s future in general.”

Noah says this academy is important to him because after graduating from Hononegah high school next spring, he plans to attend college in the area, majoring in criminal justice.

Officer Schewe and three other officers organize the youth academy each summer and during the school year they work with students in the Harlem and South Beloit school districts.

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