Madison Anglin may only be 10-years-old, but she has a plan for her future.
"I've always thought I might be a cop when I grow up, so this seems like the perfect way to get a good start on my career," she said Monday morning after she demonstrated a defense tactic she learned as a cadet in Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle's annual Junior Law Enforcement Academy.
Anglin is among dozens of fifth- graders enrolled in the free, weeklong camp that is designed to give students a simplified look at practical law enforcement experiences.
A mixture of classroom time and hands-on police training, academy topics range from crime scene investigations, patrol and weapons, to manhunts and use of force. Deputies from the divisions of the sheriff's office join school resource officers to teach the cadets.
Sgt. Johnny Holtzclaw was part of the initial group of officers that taught during the inaugural academy in 1998.
Since that time, the academy has grown from about 25 cadets to more than 150 that will participate in three different camps this summer.
"It's been 16 years and to still see the kids come through now whose older brothers or sisters went through, is great. We've had kids come three or four different times, and we've had kids that went through the first academy that came back several years later and helped us out for a couple of years," he said.
Seeing the kids return year after year, for Carlisle, is "what it's all about."
"You know, that's what the exciting part of it is, the way the kids want to come back, and it keeps growing as more and more kids get interested in it," Holtzclaw said.
And if that memory of a fun summer camp experience sparks an interested in a law enforcement career, then even better, Carlisle said.
"What we want is for kids with an interest in law enforcement to see a little about what we do. With this, we can give them a little insight on careers in law enforcement. This gives them some information about the different careers available in law enforcement and gives them some knowledge so they can go ahead and start looking into careers they might be interested in," he said.
In addition to learning law enforcement techniques, Holtzclaw said the camp also serves as a life lesson about the field that is charged with the motto "to serve and protect."
"I think it's been really good for all the kids, because they get selected and they come from so many different backgrounds, but when they're here at the junior academy, they are all one for that week, just like law enforcement," he said. "Law enforcement officers come from all different backgrounds but when we're on the job, we're together and that's the way these guys are for a week."