SUBSCRIBE NOW

Middle-schoolers learn leadership at Georgetown Junior Police Academy

The Georgetown Police Department aimed to encourage and challenge young leaders at the fifth annual junior police academy. 

The weeklong academy began Monday, Aug. 17, at the Georgetown Public Library. Good grades and behavior were a prerequisite for the “cadets,” who had to apply to the academy to attend.  

Arina Varrato is 14. The Georgetown resident has participated in the academy the past two years. 

“The first time I applied because I wanted to try something new,” she said. “I liked the experience and all the background knowledge it gave me.” 

Masked up and following social distancing guidelines, Varrato and 17 other middle-schoolers worked on their physical and mental strengths throughout the week.  

The cadets heard from numerous notable speakers, many virtually. They included: 

  • Retired police Lt. Brian Murphy, survivor of an active shooter event at an Oak Creek, Wisconsin Sikh temple in 2012. 
  • Delaware State Police Trooper Jamal Merrell, a former NFL player. 
  • Holocaust survivor and author of “Two Who Survived,” Rose Schindler. 
  • Sen. Tom Carper. 
  • Dr. Terrence Roberts, one of Arkansas’ “Little Rock Nine.” 
  • Former NFL player Michael Oher. 
  • Former Navy SEAL turned actor/consultant Remi Adeleke. 

“I liked all the presenters that shared their stories,” Varrato said. “Lt. Brian Murphy, he was shot 15 times in Wisconsin.” 

Cadets were also told the Georgetown Police Department’s somber story — that of the 2009shooting death of Patrolman Chad Spicer while in the line of duty. 

They were given a lesson on “The History of Policing” by Chief R.L. Hughes and instructed on fire safety at the Delaware State Fire School. They met with representatives from the Departments of Justice, Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement and Corrections, as well as the Dover Police Department. 

Varrato said the academy has not only helped her become a better leader but a better team member. 

“Basically, every person in the academy is like one piece to a giant puzzle,” she said. “And it all comes together.”