VESTAL, NY – In partnership with the Vestal Police Department, Vestal High School is offering its annual Youth Police Academy.

Running through the 29th of July, the academy is a leadership focused program for students in grades 8 to 12.The cadets are learning from officers in Vestal, as well as SWAT, CSI, K-9, National Guard, and others.

Today’s demonstration included a helicopter landing, and an informational Q and A with the pilot, and EMTs.

This is the 11th year of the program, and the chief at the Vestal Police Department, Stace Kintner says that it has never been more important for young adults to interact with law enforcement.

Police Chief of the Vestal Police Department, Stace Kintner says, “You’ll notice, my officers don’t wear uniforms, they don’t wear badges, they don’t wear duty belts. And we want to humanize it, the profession itself, and make sure that the kids kind of see that side of things. Before we’re police officers, we’re fathers, sons, community members, coaches, mentors, and that goes for whoever is involved here.”

The experience is hands-on, with lessons such as how to perform CPR, as well as visiting the actual police academy and witness the training firsthand.

This year, there are 52 kids from eight different districts.

Due to popular demand from the cadets and families, this year’s program is one week longer than before.

Kintner says that fifteen graduates of the youth academy are now actively serving in law enforcement.