LOMOND Hightower wasn’t there, neither was the guy who makes funny noises, and who knows where Steve Guttenberg is these days? But the Junior Police Academy at Killdevil Camp this year apparently didn’t need comedic actors judging by the smiles on the kids faces.
Twenty-eight students from the Corner Brook area shuffled up to the Gros Morne camp facility to learn about law enforcement, fire prevention and other emergency services. They also swam and held campfires to make sure they were having fun while learning.
It may have been the visit from a police dog that put the biggest smiles on the kids’ faces. Handlers set up a mock crime and demonstrated how the dog can help solve it.
“We learned that a dog can drag a guy away from a car,” said 10-year-old Rex Combdon. “He can sniff someone down, he scared me a bit but it was good.”
The kids took part in presentations on forensics, fingerprinting and other presentations from police officers. Firefighter Jack Kenney from the Corner Brook Fire Department demonstrated how various firefighting equipment works and of course there were classic camp activities. They got to go swimming, canoeing, and hiking with a nurse on hand from Western Health.
This year’s event was much better than last year’s according to Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Cst. Bev Bursey, when rain made for mostly indoor activities.
“It’s been wonderful this year, this weather changes the dynamic of the whole event,” said Bursey. “We couldn’t do anything outdoors but this year is what it should be.”
She said she hopes the kids take away a better ability to make healthy choices, as well as the knowledge that the police and other emergency workers are there to help. Bursey said the camp is, for the most part technology-free, meaning there were no cell phones or electronic games to distract them from having a good time outdoors.
“And they aren’t complaining about it,” she said. “We’ve asked them to not bring cell phones, and there are no televisions here, they just seem to be having a good time.”
The kids seem to agree.
“It’s awesome,” said James Murphy, scarfing down a hot dog during a lunch break. “We got to try on fire equipment and saw a police dog, it’s great.”
Eight-year-old Megan Young, like most of the kids, loved the dog, but also the officers.
“I never talked to a policeman before, but I liked them,” she said. “But the police dog was my favourite.”
The police academy got some help from councillors from the Dunfield Park Community Centre. Commandant Lassard was nowhere to be found.
The event wrapped up on Friday.