CHATHAM, Ill. (WAND) - The Chatham Police Department hosted their first Junior Police Academy on Thursday.
Over 20 kids participated in the day long academy. Office David Leach lead the program as kids from all over the area joined together in the Chatham Police Department.
"We wanted to give back, but we also wanted to give kids a glimpse into what we do," explained Officer Leach.
The program started when a student got the opportunity to spend his day as a police officer. Officers within the department brain stormed and decided to create a junior police academy for anyone in the area.
"It's important that people of all ages know what we do and how we do it," said Officer Leach. "This is the next generation coming up, so we want them to see what we do."
To start their day, kids got to eat donuts. Then they moved into the Chatham dispatch center to learn about different calls and what happens when a person calls 911. Officer Leach said this program gives kids an idea of what officers do and why they do it.
"We need to build trust and this is a big way for us to do that with the youth," said Officer Leach.
Kids got the opportunity to sit inside a squad car and turn on the lights and sirens. They were able to meet Chatham Police K-9 Officer Dagz and learn more about his job and what he does for the department. The kids were also able to see a mock crime scene and learn about what detectives look for when they arrive to a crime scene.
"We want kids to feel comfortable coming to us if they are victim of a crime, have information about a crime or more importantly if they are lost," explained Officer Leach.
At the end of the day, each kid was given a Chatham Police patch, a t-shirt and certificate.