Thursday, January 19, 2012

Field Trip To Police Dpt.

Class field trips were always the highlight of the school year. A chance to get out of the classroom and go where most people don't get to go. Get a sneak peek at the back rooms and factory secrets of local businesses and get to know the people in our neighborhood who are working hard for us.

I decided to ask the local police department if they would be willing to give a tour to a very small homeschooling group. At the time, it was myself and my three boys. I then called my cousin and asked if she would want to bring her two girls along. She agreed and the date was set. Sadly, Connor got sick and couldn't come, but I have plans for a fire department tour and I think that will make up for missing this trip.

So, we were met at the door by a female officer, of the Kalispell Police Department, who was taking time in the officer right before her maternity leave. Being pregnant myself, it was nice to see an active expecting mom. The kids all got plastic police badges and the tour began. The department was in the process of expanding to gain more room, so it was very busy.

We were shown the dispatch office, and what was formerly their temporary holding/photograph and fingerprinting area.

Next, we were shown the daily roster of officers on duty, the weapons room (just a peek) and on to the weight room, where officers stay in shape and do defensive training. Another officer came and demonstrated the coolest workout equipment called a Jacob's Ladder. I could see that whipping anyone in shape if they could survive for just five minutes a day! Here is a short video I found on YouTube showing how it works:

Next, she showed where they train with their tazers and the indoor shooting range. This is pretty cool, because the officers are encouraged to keep up their skills, which is very important. There were various barriers to utilize to simulate different situations. There was a wall with a small window, a curb and blockade wall, a mailbox, and fire hydrant. It is well ventilated and well put together. We chatted with the officer and the kids explored the area.

I think it was a good experience and I think the kids enjoyed it. The officer was really nice and I could see she would be very good at her job. It takes a combination of heart and strength of character to be a good officer and she seemed to have that. The kids were at ease with her as well.

The Kalispell Police Department also utilizes a bike patrol in the summer, which she had done and really liked because it was more personal, with citizens able to see the officers and converse with them. It is easier to get into unusual areas, like the local park as well and be more efficient with patrols.

I think, as a homeschooler, this is a valuable tour to take advantage of if your local PD is willing. Kids should know and recognize who the good guys are, and know how important their job is. It isn't just about driving around in a car, or arresting people. Police officers have to be well trained, and keep up with that training. They have to know the area they serve and the people they are protecting, as well as those they are protecting us from. So, take advantage of this resource if you can with your homeschoolers! You won't be disappointed.

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