Ipswich police summer academy

Police graduate first youth academy

IPSWICH — Prospective police officers, future firefighters, eventual EMTs, and the merely curious have just wrapped up a program that gave them an inside look at public safety.

Organized by the Ipswich Police Department in conjunction with the YMCA, the session was what should “hopefully be the first of many,” said Detective Joe Perna.

Made up of middle school students, the program gave a glimpse of public safety work done by the Ipswich Police Department and Massachusetts State Police, the fire department, Action Ambulance, and Gloucester police’s K-9 unit.

Costs were covered by a grant from New England Biolabs.

Police activities the class took part in included cruiser ride-alongs and a tour on the harbor patrol boat. They also practiced traffic stops, Perna said.

Another of the academy’s goals was “aimed at building relationships and trust between public safety officials and youth,” police said in the social media update (embedded with more pictures below).

Perna said the first year started out small, with just 11 kids in the class. He said police worked with the school and the Y to find students keen to attend.

Asked if any had expressed interest in law enforcement as a career, Perna replied, “Some have.”

But the fire department’s presentation seemed to be the most popular, he laughed, when kids were given the chance to try on turnout gear and view the equipment up close.

Before the students were given their certificates at the end of the week, Science From Scientists showed how their expertise is used in solving crimes.

Led by Lauren Koppel and Jenna Conversano, the session dealt with fingerprints, hair analysis, and some hands-on exercises and data collection with prism goggles.

The kids threw objects at a target with and without the goggles. They recorded the results before discussing how the body’s visual and motor systems work together.

Koppel said all the scientists teach year-round and use hands-on experiments “to get kids more excited about science.”