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Youth take aim

By By Matthew Nascone
The sixth annual Youth Police Academy took place last week on the main campus of Jefferson Davis Community College. The Academy participants took a trip to Atmore July 18 and fired off some rounds at the shooting range north of Atmore.
Chris Inabinett, an agent with Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control, talked to the 22 boys and girls in the camp about the dangers of alcohol abuse on the road. Following the speech the aspiring police officers hit the ranges.
Each camper fired off a couple of rounds with a pistol and a rifle.
The program is a joint sponsorship between the Escambia County Sheriff's Office and the Brewton Police Department. JDCC is also part of the learning experience, as they lend their rooms to the program during the summer.
Clair Sanborn, a teacher at JDCC and volunteer with the Brewton Police and Escambia County Sheriff's Office, and Chuck McMullen, a lieutenant in the cyber crime division of the Florida Attorney General's Office formed the program six years ago as a way to reach out to children.
"The Boy Scouts have their explorers groups that explore different careers in the medical field and others," Sanborn said. "This is our way to explore the law enforcement field. We wanted to try this six years ago and it has turned out to be a success."
Of course, like any new project it had its aspects that needed adjustment.
"Our first camp was four days and three nights. We stayed in the dorms of Jeff Davis and fed the kids from the jail and we knew that was done when they served us liver on the first day."
On hand in Atmore were police officers from the aforementioned departments as well as from the Flomaton Police Department, the Escambia County, Fla. Sheriff's Office, Alabama State Troopers, the Atmore Drug Task Force and officials with the department of agriculture.
"We appreciate all the help we get from the many volunteers," Sanborn said. "And some of these guys have actually used their vacation time to help these young people and that is great."
Sanborn said last year there were representatives from 15 different agencies involved with the program.
The Youth Police Academy's only difference from an actual police academy is the age of the participants. Sanborn said they do a lot of the same things out there that are done in a regular police academy.
"We try to teach them teamwork and how to work well together," Sanborn said.
The program lasted five days and four nights and graduation was held Friday at the Patterson Auditorium Brewton.