Pascagoula teens train on how to become a police officer

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Police officers have a tough job. Many of them put their lives on the line everyday to protect the community and help sweep crime off the streets. A new Special Forces Camp in Pascagoula is allowing teens to experience the challenging duties that are involved with enforcing the law.

Mackenzie Umanzor wasn't sure if she would ever enjoy being around police officers all day, but Pascagoula's new Special Forces camp has changed her mind.

"I think it is interesting now, and I am kind of thinking about being a detective or I like animals, so a K9 officer," Mackenzie said.

Pascagoula police say the camp aims to educate young people on what it takes to be a police officer through classroom training sessions and hands-on exercises.

"We have the kids going through a show and tell on criminal investigations. We are going to take them out to our firearms academy and show them different kinds of police work," Officer Shannon Massey said.

Today's lesson involved how to properly collect fingerprints from a crime scene. The teen investigators used black powder, brushes, lifting tape and paper to do the job.

"The children get a one-on-one with law enforcement and not just seeing law enforcement at a distance. They see the human aspect of police officers and what they actually do day to day," said Massey.

Tyler Shumock enjoyed the training. The teen said he's always had a desire to pursue a career in law enforcement, but the youth academy helped validate his decision.

"I learned a lot of things today. I learned the difference between theft and burglary and murders," said Tyler.

The young campers all agree, the men and women who help protect and serve the community have a challenging job that is vital to ensure safety.

"I always respected them, but I respect them even more now since seeing how much harder their job is and how much more time they have to spend out on the scene," Tyler said.

The teen campers will also spend two days this week working with Pascagoula firefighters.

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