G-AHS students get an inside look at the law

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Officer Keith Russell told the students about traffic stop legalities, including probable cause before searches. He later brought out his partner Rony to demonstrate the canine’s skills.

Fifteen teenagers spent the day with Greencastle police officers and they weren’t in trouble. The Greencastle-Antrim High School juniors and one senior shadowed members of the police department and also met with a judge on March 28 for Police Experience Day.

The students had some interest in a career in law enforcement, and got the day off of school to participate in the shadowing program required by the high school counseling office.

The day included a tour of police headquarters at borough hall; informational sessions at the police station, covering the history of municipal, state and federal laws, and the Pennsylvania codes on vehicles, crimes, procedures and drugs. Live action at the Special Events Center occurred with safety demonstrations, a probable cause traffic stop, a K-9 officer at work, an arrest, and then that suspect being arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Duane Cunningham.

Jordan Crouse, 17, signed up for the day because he is considering becoming a police officer. “I’ve always had a respect for them. I have a couple in my family.”

Jose Lopez, 17, learned by the afternoon that there was more to do to earn a badge than he had originally thought.

Madison Miller, 16, most enjoyed watching Rony, the canine officer, take down a burglary suspect. Kyle Mellott, a volunteer with the Rescue Hose Company, donned a bite suit and ran from Keith Russell, so the officer had no choice but to send his partner after him.  Rony also found drugs planted in a vehicle.

Alex Collins, 16, is thinking about future employment in the forensics field, and may take the shadowing experience one step farther, serving an internship with the Greencastle police department.

The day was coordinated by officer Ben Thomas Jr. He summarized the event, “The Greencastle Police Department/GAHS Shadowing Program gave the high school students the opportunity to experience police service, from academy training to the various laws of the commonwealth. The students were very attentive throughout the day and are a credit to our future.”

The job shadowing experience has been a part of the high school curriculum for over 15 years. Counselor Jenniffer Everetts explained why it is considered a crucial part of education.

“I always tell students this is their opportunity to ‘try on a job’. It gives them first-hand experience, so they can develop a better understanding about a specific career. The professionals who work with us during our career activities support this requirement, too. Many have expressed the importance of the real world application.”

Students from G-AHS shadow individually or in small groups in settings including schools, hospitals, offices, and with veterinarians, mechanics, welders, architects and engineers.