Nearly three dozen high school students were arrested last week, courtesy of the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office. And Cullman County is better off for it — and not because those 34 teenagers are now facing trial. But because they weren’t.
Now in its sixth edition, a program to familiarize students with the inner workings of law enforcement – a week-long program of core values education and hands-on training that culminates in a ceremony graduation – effort produces visible results.
What was originally an idea to “give kids who more than likely had negative or even no experience with law enforcement a better perspective at a young age,” according to the director of communications for the CCSO Chad Whaley has turned into an unplanned recruiting tool. At least seven graduates of the program over the years have been so impressed with what they saw and learned there that they embarked on careers with the sheriff’s office.
This grassroots program is proactive policing at its best – and a decisive step forward from other initiatives, such as the Scared Straight crisis intervention program so proliferated in the 1970s and still active today in some parts of the country. Congratulations to the CCSO and the students who chose to participate in the program. Resources wisely spent and lessons learned will no doubt continue to positively influence our community.