Eau Claire (WQOW)- Students around the Chippewa Valley are experiencing what it’s like to be an officer as part of the Junior Police Academy program.
Nate Ollmann, a detective with the Eau Claire Police Department, said this is the third year the police department has been doing the academy, and they have two sessions of it in the summer.
Ollmann said students 7th grade through high school get to spend a week learning about their crime scene units, traffic stops, dispatch center and the K-9 unit to list a few.
He said around 50 students participate in the academy throughout the summer, and it’s a great way to connect with the students.
"I think the students, especially the ones who come through the academy, don’t just see us as police officers, they see us as somebody that is just like them, normal citizen of the Eau Claire area. Although we may have a job as a police officer we are people that want to help just wherever we can and they seem to respond to that," Ollmann said.
The program also makes students feel more comfortable with approaching an officer at school or in the community when they need help.
"Feel more connected to them makes me want to go to them if I ever have a problem or anyone else needs help," said Ella Patenaude. an 8th grader at Delong Middle School.
The students graduate Friday from the program with a picnic with their families.
Ollmann said they’re hoping to have three sessions of the academy next summer.