FISHERS — Every summer, the Fishers Police Department hosts a teen academy for local students.
"It's really fun to have a week where we do fun activities in a laid-back setting and we get to know each other," Fishers Police Officer Alicia Ahnert said.
The teen academy was not held in 2020 due to the pandemic. After a challenging year for police officers, Ahnert, who is a school resource officer at Hamilton Southeastern Schools, says this year is especially important.
"Building relationships - that's the biggest thing right now. The way that police are viewed right now is in a negative light and we want to show people that we do a lot of positive things. We build these positive relationships young and it's very important," Ahnert said.
This year the academy, which is held in conjunction with the Fishers YMCA, will take place July 19th through the 23rd at Riverside Intermediate in Fishers.
For five days, a total of 40 junior high and high school students will get a chance to better understand police officers. They will get an overview of the roles and responsibilities each officer has and an inside look into some of the specialized units within FPD.
"We put them through drill, they march, they do physical tests, push-ups, and running. We start off the morning with that every day. Each day we learn something new," Ahnert said.
Students also get a chance to learn about the K-9 Unit, the role of the Fishers Dive Team, how Crime Scene Investigators process scenes, and how to safely navigate social media and the Internet.
"The teen academy was an absolutely wonderful experience, especially for people that just want to get their foot in the door with law enforcement, get to know a little bit more about behind the scenes that you really don't get to see as a normal civilian," Jenna Burrow said.
Burrow is currently an intern with the police department. She took part in the teen academy in 2017.
"For me, it was a really humanizing experience with the officers because we get to see them as day-to-day regular people as opposed to what we see on TV or what we hear about in the media. It's just a wonderful opportunity to see them in a different setting," Burrow said.
In order to register, you must be enrolled or planning to attend a junior high or high school in Fishers in the fall of 2021. There is a screening process and advanced registration is required before June 4th.