From left, Summer Youth Police Academy cadets Timothy Joel Rosado, Stasia Robichaud and Alexander Stamatelatos
“Sir, yes sir! Ma’am, yes ma’am!”
The inaugural class of cadets in the Summer Youth Police Academy at UMass Medical School was taught to respond to instructions from their commanding officers with great respect. It was just one of many lessons learned by the nine young men and five young women who participated in the first-of-its-kind youth career program offered by the medical school’s Department of Public Safety.
“Growing up seeing and experiencing a lot of messed up things, my main thought was I wanted to be a cop,” said 18-year-old cadet Timothy Joel Rosado, who will be attending Quinsigamond Community College’s law enforcement program this fall. “I wanted to be the good guy. I wanted people to look up to me as a role model, a leader, a person who can inspire others.”
Launched under the leadership of UMass Police Sergeant Nikkya Jackson, the academy’s goal is to provide positive interaction with officers and educate young people about the responsibility of police work, with a particular emphasis on the opportunities and challenges of campus policing.
“The experience is designed to build teamwork among the cadets while working together in the face of challenge and also stresses the importance of discipline,” said Jackson. “Cadets are expected to use their shared experiences while working as a sole unit to achieve team goals.”
The teens—a mix of students and graduates from North High School in Worcester—were given a rigorous five-day immersion into what police academy training is like. Modeling authentic Municipal Police Training Committee training, UMMS police officers served as drill instructors to give cadets a taste of the law enforcement profession, which included intensive drills and tests of physical endurance.
Seventeen-year-old cadet Stasia Robichaud, who hopes to become a military police officer after college, said she especially appreciated the academy’s paramilitary training. “This experience is eye-opening because it shows you how in a real-life situation you have to have that willpower and motivation to be able to keep yourself up to help your battle buddy out,” said Robichaud, who will begin her undergraduate degree in law and criminal justice at Worcester State University this fall. “Not everybody gets a chance to see how the actual academy is. Coming here, we know what to expect.”
The curriculum was mentally and physically demanding, including daily physical training; hands-on practice in basic first responder skills for splinting, back boarding, laceration, tourniquet and impalement; firearms safety; motor vehicle law; drug recognition; and applied patrol procedures. All cadets can now also add certification in CPR to their resumes.
“It was impressive seeing how seriously all the officers take their work and are all about keeping people safe and out of trouble,” said Alexander Stamatelatos, who also completed a Building Brighter Futures internship with the medical school police department this summer. “They’re perfect role models.”
The Worcester Telegram & Gazette and TV3 Worcester News Tonight were on hand for the program’s graduation ceremonies held on Friday, July 14. Attended by family and friends, the graduation featured a formal drill and ceremony demonstration. Cadets, all of whom will attend college prior to applying to a police academy, received certificates of completion along with pride in their achievements and heartfelt congratulations from UMMS police.
“For these kids, it takes a great deal of courage to stand up and say, ‘I am thinking about a career as a police officer,’ when many more of their constituents have adverse views of law enforcement,” said C. Leon Pierce, deputy chief of the UMMS Department of Public Safety. “You want candidates who aren’t afraid to stand by their convictions and do what’s right when others may not. Law enforcement needs leaders and the participants of our youth academy have portrayed those qualities.”
UMass Medical School 2017 Summer Youth Police Academy Cadets
Julianna De Souza
Timothy Joel Rosado
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