Gulfport High Students Learn the Ins & Outs of Police Dept.
Wednesday, Gulfport High student, Chloe McGee, pulled the trigger and got a firsthand look at what it’s like to be a police officer through a simulation video game where students respond to situations and actually interact with those on the screen. McGee says, "I liked the realness of it. You actually had to gun point that could actually attack you."
This is the same simulation real training officers use before they are allowed out on patrol. Gulfport High students come to the station once a week for the Gulfport Academic Institute’s Public Safety Program. Students learn everything from dispatch to animal control. Gulfport Police Chief, Leonard Papania, tells News 25 he hopes by teaching local students about the police department that one day they might join the Gulfport force as well. Papania says, "It’s the way we need to go. I think to allow kids that have grown up in this city to ultimately police their own city or provide fire protection in their own city is a great thing."
There are currently 20 students in the Public Safety Program and many tell news 25 this firsthand experience has taught them what to expect if one day they decide to take a job in the line of fire. Eric Camp, a junior at Gulfport High, says, "I never thought it was going to be that intense and I never knew what police officers really go through."
There are 13 students also in the Academic Institute doing the same program with the fire department. Those students are eligible for an internship with the fire department once they graduate.