With weapons drawn and full tactical gear equipt, officers with the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team rushed into Dawson County Junior High School on Thursday, June 10, 2021.
But the team wasn’t responding to any emergency or danger, just a room full of excited curious kids taking part in the 24th Annual Dawson County Junior Law Enforcement Academy.
According to Junior Law Enforcement Academy Instructor Cpl. Josh Rogers, this year the Junior Law Enforcement Academy had an attendance of 60 boys and girls in 5th through 7th grade, doubling the attendance they have had in previous years.
Rogers said that throughout the week-long program, the kids participated in a wide variety of law enforcement-related activities, from training simulations on the use of force to driving courses and tours of the Dawson County courthouse.
With the increased interest in the program from local kids, Rogers said they decided to make this year’s academy even more hands-on.
"We've done some things differently this year. In the past, all the kids were separated into four different classrooms, but this did more of a team thing, with different T-shirt colors, team flags and a point system," Rogers said. "It's made it more competitive and interactive, where they feel more hands-on at all times,"
The Junior Law Enforcement Academy continued on Thursday with exhibitions from the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team and K9 unit. Kids were shown the equipment and tools of officers from the different squads, and were given several demonstrations on how the officers cary out their duties.
According to DCSO Lt. Jake Crawford, it’s important for the sheriff’s office to hold events like the law enforcement academy, to show young people what officers, like those on the SWAT team, really do.
"There's a lot of things people get off TV thats not always acurate, so it's important to come out and show that this isn't some 'kick in your door, come out and hurt people' thing, that's absolutely not what SWAT's not," Crawford said. "The goal of when any time a SWAT team is utilized is to come out with the least amount of people hurt as possible, that goes for us and our suspects.”