Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Lighthorse Police Academy sparks youth interest

Chickasaw youth interested in law enforcement may have recently taken the first step toward joining the next generation of Oklahoma crime scene investigators.

More than 35 Native Americans, age 9-18, gathered at The Chickasaw Lighthorse Police headquarters June 24 for the Chickasaw Lighthorse Police Youth Academy.

Academy attendees learned the daily challenges faced by those engaged in law enforcement.

Academy participants were given K9 demonstrations, took part in rifle and pistol shooting competitions, firearm safety training, physical fitness training instruction and first aid.

“We had a lot of fun,” said Kyle Brigham, 14, of Stonewall. “We learned what police do. I didn’t realize how much physical training is required.”

Lessons were hands-on. Cadets faced situations encountered by law authorities daily. After classroom instruction, cadets were placed in scenarios including self-defense, traffic stops and crime scene analysis.

Charlea Leonard, 15, of Allen, was excited about what she learned.

“I am planning to be a criminal investigator. I feel like if I get to know how they work, I will be better prepared,” said Leonard. “I looked forward to the crime scenes and scenarios set up for us.”

Firearms and safety training held at the Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) and a tour of the Pontotoc Justice Center were highlights of the academy for many cadets.

“The most fun was shooting the rifles,” said Jalen Johnson, 11, of Ada. “I was able to load it, aim and shoot. It was exciting.”

This is the sixth year Chickasaw Nation Lighthorse Police sponsored the academy. Participation has grown annually. Many students at the June 24 event have attended two or three times.

“I like the academy because we get to do cool drills,” said Trinity Thompson, 11, of Vanoss. “Every year, we do something different.”

The academy teaches many life skills that can be applied outside of law enforcement. Cadets take part in team-building exercises, learn self-discipline and participate in activities that improve confidence. Most cadets do not plan a career in law enforcement, but they found learning the duties and responsibilities of a police officer interesting.

“We want the cadets attending to understand what is involved with police work,” said Melisha Sutton, administrative aid for Chickasaw Lighthorse Police Chief Randy Wesley. “We need the kids to know what we do and know that we are here to help; that they can always come to us.”

Cadets who passed the academy’s rigorous pace participated in a graduation and an awards ceremony. Tracy Chiles, mother of Conner Chiles, 10, of Ada, was visibly excited as her son accepted his graduation certificate. She was one of approximately 40 family and friends who showed support to the graduating class.

“It makes me feel good Conner was here,” said Chiles “Lighthorse has been around a long time. The academy has shown him the importance of physical training, responsibility and discipline. At home, he keeps talking about what he did at the academy,” she added.


Reader Comments(0)

Rendered 06/04/2024 05:33