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Junior Police Academy introduces youngsters to policing

They don’t wear badges but boys and girls ages 11-13 will receive an inside look at the world of the New Bedford Police Department through the newly reestablished Junior Police Academy, Wednesday afternoons from 3:30-5:30 p.m.
The first session was held Oct. 4 at the Andrea McCoy Recreation Center. Youngsters were introduced to the program by Sgt. Pamela Melo, who organized the academy, Det. Dominique Sherburne, Det. Stephen Taylor and Det. David Brown.
Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro and Lt. Amos Melo began the academy in 2000, when they were a lieutenant and sergeant, respectively. The academy ran through 2006 before being reintroduced this year.
The program aims to give the students a first-hand look at some of the department’s offerings, including the K-9 unit, crime scene investigation and marine patrol. Participants will learn about safety issues, such as the potential dangers on the Internet, and be taught the importance of dependability, respect and self-confidence.
The first session covered a variety of topics, including the importance of making a good first impression on people by being courteous, attentive and offering a firm handshake.
Weekly programs will continue through Dec. 6. Students who complete the program will be honored at a graduation ceremony. The department hopes to host the program again in the spring.