I would like to introduce you to the Doug Woodham Dallas Junior Police Academy. First, we are a 501(c)(3) corporation as of 2013. The JPA program has been founded to teach Dallas Area students to keep themselves safe and, in turn, their community safe and “make better choices”. Beginning in 2010, the main activity of JPA was, and still is, having academy classes for students. The Academy classes have always been planned by a volunteer committee, which consists of community volunteers, current and retired Dallas Police Department officers, a retired FBI employee, and a former Dallas City Council Member. The classes are taught by Dallas Police Officers, volunteers from other non-profits, JPA Board members, Dallas Police Explorers and community volunteers.
The Basic Class is for students in the 4th-7th grade and is held at the Police Academy. JPA now accepts up to 100 students for each class on a first-come, first-serve basis, and each student goes through a background check prior to acceptance. Our classes fill up quickly (last one filled up in 2½ days) and we have 150-200 students per class on the waiting list. We plan to have four Basic Classes in 2018. We have had approximately 2,000 students attend the classes.
The students are shown different aspects of the Dallas Police Department. They are taught how to stay away from gangs, drugs, alcohol use, etc. JPA stresses to the students to stay in school, get a good education, and be a productive member of society. We also have “show and tell” from the DPD including the helicopters, mounted unit, K-9 unit, SWAT team, SCUBA unit, etc.
We also have Advanced Classes for students in the 8th-12th grades. They are held at DPD headquarters. Side trips are taken to the Dallas Police Academy (rides in police cars, physical training and force continuum) and to Dallas City Hall/911 Communications Center. The agenda also includes personal safety, a tour of the CSI Lab, life skills (including etiquette), internet safety, etc. We plan to have two classes in 2018.
JPA began a study in November 2012 through the Caruth Police Institute to track the difference the classes are making with the students and their attitudes towards police officers and choices they make in regards to gangs, drugs, alcohol consumption, etc. The study will follow some of the students until they graduate from high school to see if the ideals JPA teaches make a difference in their lives.
Each class costs approximately $30 per student including giveaways such as Tshirts, backpacks, school supplies, etc. and lunch/snacks. We also have a bag for the parents. We are totally funded by grants and donations. We also use gift cards to purchase supplies and prizes and to give them to the students to take home.
At the end of each class, we have the students fill out a questionnaire. One of the questions is “What Did you Learn Today.” Here are some of their comments (their spelling-not mine).
- Think about your choices
- Don’t use drugs, how to pass an obstacle cource, about German shepherds (in the police), gangs, marijuana… EVERY THING FUN!
- Stay away from drugs, and gangs. Marijuana is 10x stronger than tobaco. Drugs can get you sick mostly with cancer.
- I learned that people can change there life by doing the right thing. Also that drugs can get you a lot of friends but can mess with your brain.
- Finger prints, don’t call 911 if its not a an emergency, say no to drugs, don’t be a bully and tobacco gives you cancer
- How to do fingerprints the pro way. That walking in a straight line while drunk is not easy.
- I learned everything about an police officer, 911 calls, police explorers, training, SWAT, K-9 unit, etc.
- I learned a lot, especially with the man who came in telling us about gangs. I also learned about the different types of police and different ways to become one. I learned about different advantages of a police officer.
- I learned that when you make a negative decision there’s a consequence. About equipment used in the Dallas SWAT. Drugs effect your life.
- That the Dallas Police Academy is the BEST!
To see what really happens in our classes and the excitement of the students, please go to dallasjps.org where we have a 3½ minute video of a class.
Our JPA email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Our contact at the Dallas Police Department is Sgt. Wanda West.
Applications are available in English and Spanish on this LINK.
The Doug Woodham Dallas Junior Police Academy
Dallas Police Department
Youth Outreach Unit
1400 South Lamar
Dallas, TX 75215