Letter to the Editor: ICSO Teen Academy provides participants with valuable lessons

Posted at 11:43 AM on Aug 13, 2017

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To the Editor:

I wanted to share a little bit about our teenage daughter’s recent contact with the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office. I know what you are now thinking – here's another letter bashing law enforcement.

Not this time.

Mackenzie just “graduated” from the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office Teen Academy, and I wanted to share what a great experience this was for her and the nearly 20 other teens who participated.

On Tuesday and Thursday nights for the past four weeks, these teens were exposed to numerous topics, including internet safety, drug awareness, and drunken driving awareness. The were also educated on several aspects of law enforcement work, including patrol, narcotics, K-9, lake patrol, the responsibilities of school resource officers, and they learned about the detention center. They participated in hands-on scenarios from the viewpoint of both the citizen and the officer.

Mackenzie seemed to have had the most vivid experience during the traffic-stop scenarios and from the detention center tour. On graduation night, all of the teens agreed that they never wanted to be “on the wrong side of the bars” in the future. On the night of the traffic-stop scenarios, the teens learned how they should conduct themselves if stopped by law enforcement; they also learned how scary every traffic stop is for the officer and how quickly things can go bad.

I think we can all agree that with the issues our teenagers face in today’s society, we as parents need all the help we can get to prepare them for the road ahead. The Teen Academy that has been put together by Sheriff Darren Campbell and his staff is one of only a few in our nation and many of the others have been modeled after Iredell County.

All teens would benefit from this Academy, but as with all government spending, funds are limited and heavily scrutinized by our elected officials and county administration. Please support the expansion of this program by speaking to your county commissioners about it and take the opportunity to send your children. It’s a great opportunity for our children to forge positive relationships with law enforcement.

Jason N. Little
Statesville

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