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Police open up to youth Allison K. Sampité-montecalvo | Thu, Feb 21 2013 02:25 PM

A 10-week course for the annual Chula Vista Police Department teen academy just started.

The free academy presents teenagers between 13 and 18 an opportunity to see an inside perspective from law enforcement officers.

The course has been offered nearly 10 years and is coordinated by Chula Vista Police community relations specialist Angela Gaines.

Throughout the course, teens are taught by various instructors who provide insight on bullying, street racing, crime scene investigation, pursuit driving, Internet safety, defensive tactics, patrol role-play scenarios and gang suppression through presentations and hands-on activities.

All participants must be local residents or attend school in Chula Vista and must pass a background check.

Gaines said it’s important for the department to offer this opportunity to teens.

“For one thing it’s outreach,” she said. “We love to be involved with the community and give opportunities for them to get to know their local law enforcement. The police department’s relationship with youth in particular a lot of times is that youth have a negative perception of law enforcement. It gives them a real in depth look at what we do and why we do it.”

Classes are held at the police department located at 315 Fourth Ave. and meets on Wednesday from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Each year evaluations are conducted and adjustments are made based on the popularity or dislike of the classes, according to Gaines.

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