East Moline Police kicks off first Junior Police Academy

EAST MOLINE--  With weapons raised high, about 30 kids from the Quad Cities participate in target practice, using simulation guns.

“It looks and feels and weighs the same as our actual duty guns that we have. The only difference is it is shooting little pink pellets out as opposed to bullets,” says Sargent Tony Frankowski from the East Moline Police Department.

The target practice is a part of a new program in the department, called the Junior Police Academy. The week-long program invites kids to learn about police training and duties.

“We’ve learned how k9s are trained, swat how they maneuver and stuff,” says 11-year-old Gabe Carter.

For him those activities are more than a summer program, it’s the first step towards his career.

“I do want to be a police officer…My dad is a fire fighter and I wanted to go down the same path to help the community as him,” says Carter.

Captain Thomas Reagan says the youth summer week comes during a time when he’s seeing fewer people applying to join the force.

“When I started there were about 300 applicants who actually took the test and tried to get on the list now we’re seeing about 30,” says Reagan.

The students will receive a certificate and honorary junior police badges during their graduation ceremony Friday, July 27 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in East Moline.