--- Issued June 8, 2017

Five high school girls, all residents of the  Erie Housing Authority's John E. Horan Garden Apartments, have a jump-start on their future if they’re eyeing careers in law enforcement.

Junior cops work with real COPPS

The five are recent graduates of the Erie Bureau of Police Junior Police Academy program, a six-week course that began in April and ended with a June 6 graduation dinner, where they received their certificates of completion.  They also received mementos to help them remember their time as Junior Police Academy Cadets.

“I was very impressed with the five young women and how they represented their families," said Michael R. Fraley, acting executive director of the Authority.  "I was particularly impressed with one young lady who will attend Mercyhurst University in the fall and major in forensics.  All of this will be very valuable if she chooses a career in police work."

The  students learned about everything from fingerprinting, to  how to handle police investigations, to how to handle patrols during day and night shifts.  They even learned how to proceed at the scene of traffic accidents and how to measure and evaluate tire skid marks.

In a news story published May 17 by the Erie Times-News,  Erie Police Chief Don Dacus said the junior program was established after the bureau considered re-establishing an adult citizens police academy:

“We reconsidered, and ideally we’re just trying to find a better way to reach the youth, so this was an idea to try and reach them in a different way,’’ Dacus said. “The Housing Authority came to us and offered to let us run the program through them first to see how it goes. Corporal Covatto came up with the curriculum and we hope to introduce it to the rest of the city once we get a feel for what we’re doing with it.’’

Dacus  told the newspaper that the program’s goals are to introduce youth to what officers do and let them know there is more than one side to police work.

“We want to show them that it’s not about just arresting the bad guy as much as it is about building relationships and opening lines of communication and showing the positive sides of police work,’’ Dacus said.