LOWELL — Police Superintendent Raymond Kelly Richardson is pleased to announce that 28 students recently graduated from the Lowell Police Department Student Police Academy.
On Friday, Aug. 14, the class of seventh and eighth grade Lowell students celebrated the completion of the program at a graduation ceremony held at John F. Kennedy Civic Center Plaza. Each graduate was given a certificate. The graduation, like the academy itself, was held in accordance with state and local public health guidelines. Only students and members of the Lowell Police Department attended the ceremony, while their families were able to watch there ceremony via a live stream.
“Congratulations to this year’s participants in the Student Police Academy and thank you to all who made it possible to hold this program during this unprecedented time,” Superintendent Richardson said. “This program not only provides important information to students about the diverse responsibilities officers have, but offers an incredible opportunity for members of the department to connect with our young community members. As shown by the number of Lowell Police Officers who have completed the youth program themselves, these relationships can have lasting, positive effects.”
The two-week course was modeled after the police academy curriculum and provided students with lessons such as physical training, building self-confidence/self-esteem, developing role models and mentorships with staff. The classes students attend throughout the program include CPR training/certification, Drug and Alcohol Awareness, Gang Awareness, Dangers of Vaping, Internet/Social Media Safety, Teen Dating Violence, Anti-Bullying, Criminal Investigations, and Police Patrol Procedures. Guest instructors also came in to teach classes such as Fire Safety, Police K-9 demonstration, and the Bomb Squad work.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the course was shortened and the number of students was reduced in line with recommendations from the Lowell Health Department. Students had their temperatures taken each morning, and all who participated were required to wear a face mask or covering and practice social distancing throughout the academy. The course traditionally has been held over three weeks, with upwards of 100 students in attendance.
The summer program is completely free for Lowell students in fifth through eighth grades, and breakfast and lunch is provided for students. Over 5,000 students have participated in the program since it was first held 22 years ago.