Cops and robbers

Children learn about detective work

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Brent Juergens, 11, said he does not always believe what he sees on television.

After completing the Junior Detectives program though Recreational After-school Doorway, he said police work is not what he expected.

"It was way better," he said.

Dustin Willey, 11, agreed, and said there is a lot more involved in solving crime than can fit into a one-hour program.

"True law enforcement's not like 'CSI,'" Craig Police Detective Storm Fallon, who taught the course, said. "There's a lot more to it."

Junior Detectives was a six-week course that met Wednesday afternoons. The 17 fifth- and sixth-graders investigated a fake crime scene and collected evidence.

They took photographs and fingerprints and made a casting of a footprint. They interrogated burglary suspects and arrested the criminal. They even had to write reports.

"They see what officers have to go through," Fallon said.

At the Junior Detectives graduation, members of the Craig Police Special Response Team, officers Travis Young and Alvin Luker, brought in gear and weapons.

Juergens and Willey took pictures of Young dressed in full SRT gear, and both thought graduation was the best part of the program.

"You get to hold (the gear)," Willey said. "It's something I never got to do before."

RAD Director Dianne Gould said Junior Detectives, in its third year, was one of the most popular programs, with 50 or 60 students vying for 18 spots.

"The Police Department has been awesome," she said. "(The kids) always have something to look forward to. It's just so educational in so many different ways."

Sgt. Bill Leonard, who coordinates the program for CPD, said this was just one of the community programs the department organizes each year, and its design is being replicated.

A department in Santa Rosa, Calif., requested information about Junior Detectives, because it is interested in starting a similar program there.

"It's kind of neat that in a small community we have this program in place, and now a much larger city wants to start it there, too," he said.

Gould said Junior Detectives is offered only in the fall, but she hopes to set up a program through the Moffat County Sheriff's Office for upcoming semesters.

Registration for winter RAD programs begins in January. The RAD office can be reached at 826-0199.

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031 or mperry@craigdailypress.com.

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