The Department of Virginia 29th Annual Youth Law Cadet Enforcement Academy was held last week, June 24 to June 29. It was a great week for everyone involved in this program. The weather was great and the kids (cadets) really enjoyed their week at the Virginia State Police Academy. Our VSP instructors did a great job giving the cadets an exposure to a wide range of law enforcement information and hands on experiences. Crime scene investigations, traffic accident investigations, DUI simulated driving, K9 exhibitions to name a few. The hands on experiences included driving a VSP patrol cruiser on several types of closed courses including the skid pan, the opportunity to fire the VSP standard issued SigSauer side arm and Colt M4 patrol rifle and in the pool water safety and survival. Our Legion counselors were there for moral and emotional support and did a great job in making sure the experience for the cadets lived up to the expectations of both The American Legion and the Virginia State Police. The transformation of these 50 kids, now real cadets is amazing. When they marched into the gym for graduation, did their pivots, remained standing and then sat down as a group really amazed their parents who were in attendance. Most wanted to know “what have you done to my child? I cannot get them to behave near that well!” I had promised them that on Sunday when I talked to all the parents as a group and advised them what their child was in for during the week. The only thing I could not guarantee is how long after they got home they would continue to make their beds in the mornings. Our long time partnership with the Virginia State Police and their continued support was reinforced by new Superintendent Colonel Gary T. Settle. Plaques were awarded by the VSP for the outstanding female and male physical training test, Tiffani Burdick (215) and Jack Jenkins (75) respectively and for overall outstanding cadet, Kolton Chapman (37). The American Legion presented the Jessica J. Cheney Memorial Spirit Award to Zachary Everson (54). Lastly and most importantly, thank you to Erica Eccleston for your logistical support the past six months and to my Legion counselors Tommy Powell (130), Joyce Miller (180), Deloris Todman (165) and Rick Ward (75) who all spent the week with me at the academy. We do have some ideas for improvement of the overall program so please try and attend the Department Convention and our two conferences where these ideas will be discussed at our committee meetings. Be sure to check out the National website for a story and photos by Steve Brooks from National Media Relations. It should be posted sometime this week.
For God and Country,
YCLE Academy Director