It was two full days of informative fun for 35 lake area children who took part in the Lake Ozark police department's (LOPD) seventh annual Junior Police Academy.
It was two full days of informative fun for 35 lake area children who took part in the Lake Ozark police department's (LOPD) seventh annual Junior Police Academy. The mix of children ranging in ages from 10-14 enjoyed a plethora of special scheduled events held at the Port Arrowhead Convention Center in Lake Ozark.
"This event gives a lot of insight to the kids in our communities as to what it is that law enforcement officers do, but we try to show them in a fun way," said LOPD Chief Gary Launderville.
Noting that this year there was some really great lake area agencies showing support from the Eldon and Osage Beach police departments, Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP), local businesses and the donation of event space donated by Port Arrowhead. Launderville stated that the event also has an anonymous donor who generously donated $3000 to help support the community event.
The event kicked off with a fly-in of the MSHP helicopter unit at the Port Arrowhead parking lot at 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 14. The group was also treated to demonstrations by Eldon (Officer Romito) and Osage Beach (Officer Ford) K-9 units, in which the dogs showed how they do a building search, drug detection, as well as bite and vehicle removal.
The MSHP also provided intoxication goggles as the children drove golf carts, so they could understand the dangers of impairment while drinking and driving.
Launderville stated that one of the favorite parts for participants is the firearm safety course and then shooting of air soft guns for the firearm course and qualification portion of the event.
LOPD officers were present throughout the two day event, which also featured NFL quarterback Shawn Hill who spoke to the junior academy members about leadership, responsibility and goals.
All 35 kids who completed the program received a special certificate at the end of the program.
Launderville said the Junior Police Academy will return again next summer- and would like to see the event grow with lake area support. All participants paid a fee of $15 to attend the event which covered the cost of special t-shirts.