Approximately 150 young people considering a career in law enforcement are expected to join the West Liberty University campus this week. These high school students will be taking part in the annual West Virginia Sheriffs’ Youth Leadership Academy as the annual event moves to the Hilltop for the first time.
“We’re pleased to work with the West Virginia sheriffs and other first responders in providing a safe and informative camp for these young people. The camp is a positive and enjoyable way to inspire youth and introduce them to law enforcement and safety professionals,” said Joseph Montemurro, who serves as West Liberty University’s director of public safety and chief of police.
The six-day residential summer program takes place July 7-12, and this is the first year that it has met in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia.
“This is a great experience for youth, they learn about careers in public service and interact with law enforcement, plus they find out how law enforcement works,” Ohio County Sheriff Tom Howard said.
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Representatives from sheriff’s offices across the state planned the summer academy, and approximately 50 camp staff professionals will be working with the campers.
The camp’s goal is to deter risk-taking behavior patterns by introducing the participants to recreation alternatives and educating them on the negative consequences of drugs, alcohol and violence, according to Howard.
A graduation ceremony will be held on Friday, July 12, to conclude the academy week. On Tuesday, July 9, there is a mock accident drill planned for 6 p.m. that will involve a helicopter landing on campus.
Firefighters, EMTs and other first responders will assist in the camp, and meet and interact with the campers, offering a first-hand look at law enforcement and public safety for those interested in entering the field of public service.
Formerly, the academy took place in the southern part of the state.
The academy is open to boys and girls in public or private schools who have attained at least a 2.0 on their most recent report card.