Youth Police Academy still needs donations

Published 4:30 am Thursday, July 8, 2010

With 40 teens signed up for the annual Youth Police Academy, organizers are still seeking help from the community.

Samantha Bennett, an eight-year veteran with the Academy, said getting materials for the weeklong event has been a struggle.

“We are still in need of some materials for the week,” Bennett said this week. “We have had a few donations lately but there are so many more things that we need.”

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Although a large portion of the materials and supplies need for the event are already in hand, Bennett said there is still a chance for members of the community to donate items found on the Academy’s wish list.

“We will be accepting donations of materials and supplies through July 15th,” Bennett said. “The Academy starts on July 19 and we have to have everything in place by then. I’ll have to do some shopping I’m sure, but if we could get those donations in by July 15th I’ll know what is left to purchase.”

Some of the items being requested through donations include snacks such as cheese crackers, cookies, etc.; sports drinks such as Gatorade, Vitamin Water; plastic or paper cups; plastic forks and spoons; paper plates such as Dixie or a similar product that can hold up well; paper bowls; bottled water; pancake mix; toilet tissue, paper towels, cereal; breakfast items such as honey buns, muffins, etc.; and napkins.

With full week of activities planned for the 18 young women and 22 young men, Bennett said it should be busy and tiring.

“We have so much planned for the week that these students will certainly be tired when it’s time for lights out,” Bennett said. “The activities start right after orientation Monday and won’t stop until graduation on Friday.”

Bennett said orientation and dorm assignments will be held on the campus of Jefferson Davis Community College in Brewton July 19. The afternoon will see a visit from supporters from NAS Whiting Field.

“NAS will come for a visit in the afternoon on Monday and bring their toys,” Bennett said. “There will be plenty of demonstrations to give these students an opportunity to see those things up close.”

Tuesday will carry the group to Atmore where they will visit the firing range operated by the Alabama Department of Corrections.

Wednesday’s schedule will have them back in Brewton at the Brewton Area YMCA.

“The YMCA is so good to let us use their padded rooms and their pool,” Bennett said. “We will have our ‘red man’ activities for the day on


Bennett explained the “red man” suit is a suit that allows a would-be attacker a chance to show students how to defend themselves.

“Sometimes people don’t listen to the commands of officers and sometimes they attack,” Bennett said. “This suit allows our ‘attacker’ to be hit, punched, kicked or whatever is necessary without being hurt. This activity allows us to teach self-defense that will be beneficial in the event of an attack of any kind.”

Thursday will be filled with guns, DNA and other forensic demonstrations and hands-on activities, Bennett said.

“We have the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences with us all day on Thursday,” Bennett said. “The students will be able to study ballistics, DNA evidence and other forensic science procedures during the day. It’s a completely hands-on activity for them all day.”

The Escambia County Rescue Squad and E911 members will visit on Friday morning complete with wrecked vehicles in tow.

“We want the students to have an opportunity to work and respond to emergency situation,” Bennett said. “They will bring in a couple of crashed cars for a mock-accident scenario. The students will use the jaws of life to cut accident victims from those cars.”

Graduation ceremonies will be held on Friday afternoon, Bennett said.

Participating sponsors and Academy presenters include the Escambia County (Ala.) Sheriff’s Office, Atmore Police Department, Brewton Police Department, East Brewton Police Department, Flomaton Police Department, Escambia County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office; Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, Alabama Department of Corrections, Alabama State Troopers, NAS-Whiting Field, Escambia County Rescue Squad, Escambia County 911, Alabama Beverage Control Board, Brewton YMCA, Brewton Country Club and Jefferson Davis Community College.

For additional information or to make donations of requested items, contact Bennett at the Atmore Police Department at 368-9141 or donations may be dropped off at any supporting/sponsoring agency office.