INSTITUTE, W.Va. – The West Virginia State Police Academy welcomed some one-day cadets on Tuesday. Forty students from River View High School in McDowell County took a tour of the facility, learned about a cadet’s typical day and saw the State Police K-9s in action.
The students are part of the Law and Public Safety Program at River View. Their instructor is retired State Police Trooper George Kennedy who is now a teacher.
“It’s one thing to talk about the academy and the experience you had, it’s another thing for the students to experience it first hand,” explained Kennedy.
The Law and Public Safety Program in McDowell County is one of only a handful in the state. Kennedy said the main goal is to introduce the students to careers in law enforcement.
“That’s what I’m trying to do, to get them to be more aware and let them see there’s a lot of opportunities within this department or county and city agencies,” said Kennedy.
In a county that’s coal dependent, Kennedy said many River View graduates will end up in the mines. He says that’s a solid profession. However, there’s also a need for law enforcement in southern West Virginia and students interested in a career in criminal justice can get a sneak peak into what it would be like.
Kennedy stressed, “We want the students to see this is a really proud profession and you can do a lot of good, you can help a lot of people in this line of work.”
The one-day visit to the academy is part of a two-year course students can opt to take. Once they complete the classes, Kennedy said it’s more than just a grade on their report card.
“If the two-year completers graduate and receive their certification they will be tested in law enforcement, corrections and personal protective services and they will get a certificate of completion in all three, which would qualify them to go out and seek that type of employment,” said Kennedy.
It’s all about giving students options. State Troopers said it’s also a great recruiting tool for an area of the state that needs law enforcement officers.