Dawson County Middle School was the scene of officer training and crime scene investigation last week.
The Dawson County Junior Law Enforcement Academy provided hands-on experience to approximately 20 local rising fifth-graders in everything from defensive tactics to crime scene investigations to use of force.
Black's Mill Elementary School student Abby Bouchez, 10, explained why she's participating.
"I'm interested in all the things cops get to do," Bouchez said. "I want to be a cop."
Her goal is to become a detective because "they put together the pieces to figure out who did it," Bouchez explained.
Pardue also wants to be a detective.
"I like doing detective work," she said.
The pair had a similar assessment of the program.
"It's very interesting," Bouchez said. "It's better than I expected."
"Way better," echoed Pardue.
Dawson County Sheriff's Office Capt. Tony Wooten explained why the county offers the program, now in its eighteenth year.
"It's an opportunity to become familiar with the sheriff's office," Dawson County Wooten said. "It builds a strong relationship between kids and law enforcement."
Most students in the county know their school resource officer.
"We bring in other departments they wouldn't normally ever see," Wooten said. "If they ever need anything, they'll know officers."
The various experiences made for enjoyable first-time experiences for the attendees.
Thomas Cameron, 10, said driving the golf cart, part of the Emergency Vehicle Operation Course segment, was his favorite part.
Cpl. Jessica Kraft and Kimbo, a DCSO K-9 officer, gave a demonstration Friday morning which included a drug search and suspect apprehension.
Shannon Money, another BMES student, was not as decisive about her favorite part.
"Maybe K-9, she said.
The program continues this week with middle school students.