This summer, 40 youths will be invited by the Colorado State Patrol to shoot the CSP's guns, drive its training course, operate a command center and learn some of the philosophy and ethics that are integral to a trooper's job. And, they get go to a Rockies game.
The first Colorado State Patrol Youth Academy will be June 17-23 at the CSP Academy in Golden. The program was created with the goal of developing future leaders of Colorado.
"It gives kids an incentive to stay sharp and keep their record clean, so if they do have an interest in law enforcement, they don't ruin their chances," said Trooper Brad Keadle of the Craig CSP office. "It's a way to give them a taste of a possible career."
The program is partly based upon a recruitment philosophy, Keadle said, but is open to anyone who just has an interest in participating. The academy is not a boot camp for troubled kids.
"We are looking for the cream of the crop, so to speak, who might set a goal to one day work for us," Keadle said.
The 40 participants from around the state will be divided into squads, like regular cadets, with troopers as squad leaders. These squads will compete in various training activities, including building searches, gun safety, skeet shooting, firing range shooting, law enforcement and defensive driving, traffic stops and accident investigations. Participants will also learn about the history and philosophy of the CSP, and the ethics that guide law enforcement. Troopers and students will also attend a Rockies game at Coors Field.
"This program is unique," Keadle said. "It's not ever been done before to our knowledge."
The participants will be housed in Academy dorms, with a husband and wife chaperon team staying with the students during the nights.
The Academy is being provided at no cost to the participants, which was made possible by partnerships with local community-minded businesses, organizations and the CSP.
Participants must be at least 16 years old, be a junior or senior in high school, have a minimum GPA of 2.0, be a Colorado resident, possess a valid Colorado license, have current medical insurance, obtain doctor certification of ability to participate, pass a criminal history and driver's history check, and present two letters of recommendation, along with their application, and participate in an interview.
"Each troop will be sending two cadets to the Academy. I'm looking for two cadets, with one alternate, to send from our troop area," said Keadle. "This program has been talked about for a long time, and what we want to do is run it annually."