INSTITUTE – Students at River View High School in Bradshaw learned firsthand about law enforcement when they toured the West Virginia State Police Academy on Tuesday.
About 50 juniors and seniors studying Law and Public Safety learned what it takes to be an officer through hands-on activities, including a K-9 demonstration and a presentation about the State Police Crime Lab.
Sergeant Joe Portaro, deputy director of training at the State Police Academy, hopes to inspire as many students as possible to join the force. "The amount of people that apply for law enforcement is a lot lower, so naturally we want to make sure that we reach the best people that we can," he explained.
Retired state police officer George Kennedy teaches law and public safety at River View High School. He organized the tour to help students really learn about law enforcement. "It's priceless the type of learning this type of field trip can do,” Kennedy said. “[Being] out of the classroom, out in the real world in this type of environment, just gives them a really good understanding that they could never get by just sitting at a desk."
Senior Josh Click of Cucumber said his experience at the academy helped him decide to choose a career in law enforcement. "Seeing all of the troopers come out there and do their job like they're supposed to just motivates me that much more because I want to be up there with them,” he said. “I want to be in the brotherhood and I want to try my best and everything in me to be here."
Cucumber said he now has a better sense of what officers go through day-to-day. "You really don't know until you come up here and it's just a little taste they give you. And to me, I enjoyed it and I just cannot wait to come back."
The State Police Academy can host student or individual tours by request for people interested in a career in law enforcement.