Guttenberg Police Investigator Leonardo Ramirez asked parents an important question at Guttenberg’s Junior Police Academy graduation on June 29: Whether they had seen a change in their children who attended.
Joanna Olmedo came forward.
“He has changed,” said she said of son Issac Olmedo. “This is an awesome program.”
Forty-five Guttenberg kids graduated from the town’s Junior Police Academy on June 29. At the ceremony, cadets showed their family and friends the drills they learned throughout the course of the eight-day program, and performed skits.
The 45 seventh graders were required to remember the Academy Values: “It is a great honor to be a part of this academy. I will apply the discipline and knowledge I’ve learned from my instructors. I will respect others, as I do myself.”
The program was run by Ramirez along with drill instructors Sgt. James Hosie, Officer Joseph Keselica, Officer Shaundell Barker, Special Police Officer Jesus Garcia, and Special Police Officer Travis White.
Investigator Ramirez compared the academy to a “soup” into which every drill instructor contributed something.
“They already had the potential, we just nourished it. – Officer Shaundell Barker
Captain Joel Magenheimer boasted about the program’s history, saying that only one student had dropped out in more than a dozen years.
Mayor Gerald Drasheff thanked the parents for trusting their children to the instructors.
“It’s an opportunity for them [the cadets] to work very closely with our police officers in a non-confrontational setting,” said Drasheff.
Shaundell Barker, the only female instructor, uplifts her female cadets with girl power.
“They already had the potential; we just nourished it,” said Officer Barker.
“We just want to let you know how much we appreciate everything,” said cadet Kyana Soto, who was chosen by the instructors to be a leader or “executive officer” within the program. “We want to thank the town of Guttenberg, the EMS department and the instructors for giving us the opportunity and chance of experiencing different things. Most of all a special thanks to instructor Ramirez.”
Kyana and cadet Amanda Rodriguez were chosen for leadership positions because they were seen as having the most leadership skills, according to Ramirez.
The graduates were shown a short video of the boot camp drills and field trips that they took while in the academy. Each one of the students received a longer, two-hour video.
Vanessa Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org