NH police academy does more than introduce teens to police work
NEW BOSTON — On July 4, a teenager was directing traffic after the New Boston parade because he had the skills. It turns out, Tyler Brace had just completed the highest level at the New Hampshire Police Cadet Training Academy and was enjoying his last day of being a 17-year-old by volunteering.
He graduated from Goffstown High School on June 18, and the following week he graduated from the Leadership Level at the New Hampshire Police Cadet Training Academy in Concord. He’ll attend New Hampshire Technical Institute to study criminal justice in the fall and has a jump on his career because of the cadet academy.
Teaching valuable skills
The cadet academy is designed to help 14- to 20-year-olds succeed in any career they choose. The program is run by the N.H. Association of Chiefs of Police. Financial aid is available.
“There is a misconception to the general public that we are trying to make police officers out of everyone. If they go into law enforcement or the military, that is good, but everyone needs problem-solving skills, to be able to overcome obstacles and to be able to think quickly on their feet, and that is what we are trying to teach them,” said Washington Police Chief Steve Marshall, who heads the cadet training program. "If you are going to be a bus driver, accountant or police officer you need skills to be successful. We use the vehicle of a police academy as a teaching technique because that is what our background is."
“It’s a program which prepares people who are possibly interested in law enforcement for what the job might entail. It teaches you not only what the job of being a police officer means but what lies beneath it, such as the integrity piece and being honest and what it means to actually be a police officer and to project and serve,” said Brace.
The academy has three levels: basic, advanced and leadership.
“Leadership Academy is really the best year, not only does it teach you about how to be a leader in law enforcement and how to be in a supervisory position, but it teaches you how to be a leader in normal day life. It gives you the skills to succeed,” said Brace.
The academy’s staff represents state, local and county agencies, or the military.“Eleven of them were in the academy as kids. We have support from all over the state,” said Chief Marshall.
Cadets live on campus at NHTI for the week during training in a paramilitary environment. The Advanced Level offers hands-on firearms instruction at SigArms, which provides the targets, weapons, ammunition, range and weapons cleaning for free. Firearms instructors volunteer to provide one-on-one training to students.
The leadership-training level also helps participants with interview skills and teaches them that what they do now and who they associate with will affect them later in life when they apply for jobs.
Tyler Brace was working traffic control in New Boston because his dad, New Boston Police Chief James Brace, asked if he would volunteer.
“I’m very proud of him,” said Chief Brace.
Some towns, like Nashua, have a Police Explorer program, but New Boston and Goffstown do not.
“The fact I’m in the field was able to prepare Tyler to some degree. Departments that have explorer posts attached to them help those individuals have more exposure to law enforcement,” added the chief.
The 41st academy trained about 35 females and 90 males. The weeklong program runs the first week school is out.