Twelve children - 11 from South Windsor and one from Windsor - received certificates Friday at the fire department’s Company 3 building for completing the week-long Police Summer Youth Program.
The program, now in its second year, was taught by Officer Caleb Lopez, Sgt. Elsie Diaz, Officer Charlie Bowes of the South Windsor Police Department and Officer Kari Tkacz of the Windsor Police Department.
“Every time I do it, I get energized,” Lopez said.
The students spent six hours from Aug. 13 to 17 learning various aspects of the public safety fields, including police, fire and ambulance work.
Classroom talks included experts from juvenile court, the South Windsor fire department and the canine unit from the South Windsor Police Department.
A member for the town’s SWAT team displayed the various gear he and his team members have to take with them on a call. The kids even got to try on some of the gear.
“Once I put on [a 30 pound vest], I wanted them to take it off because it was heavier than the book bag I carry at school,” Ciyarah Henry of Windsor quipped to the crowd of parents who gathered for the graduation.
The week culminated with the graduation on Friday, during which the kids quizzed their parents with questions prepared with a PowerPoint presentation.
Among the questions were how much does a new ambulance - stripped and fully equipped - cost? (Answer: $180,000 stripped, $235,000 fully equipped)
Another question was whether bullying was a crime in Connecticut. (Answer: no, but some of the actions that alleged bullies take may be criminal offenses under other laws)
In addition, Lopez during the week was turned into a human chew toy three times when the department's German Shepherd took him down in demonstrations, which were recorded and replayed Friday.
Lopez, the school resource officer in South Windsor, was proud of his charges.
“It went extremely well,” Lopez said. “The kids worked really hard.”
The kids who participated in the program were the following:
David Sollima Jr.