New Mexico State Police kicks off Youth Academy

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Sunday was drop off day for New Mexico State Police’s Youth Academy. High school juniors and seniors from all over the state will spend the week learning what it takes to be a State Police officer.

“I’m actually very proud of her,” said Tanya Rodriguez about her daughter.

You could not miss the smile on her face Sunday.

“This is something that she’s chosen to do and if this is the path then I would support her 100 percent,” Rodriguez said.

Nearly 50 high school students from around the state are taking part.

“I’m interested in the criminology field in college and I [have] really done some research and I’m really interested in it so I thought this would be a good experience to get to know it a lot more,” Mariza Rodriguez explained.

“A lot of these kids they dream and aspire to be a New Mexico State police officer so what a better way to start this as a youth,” explained Officer Anthony Luna.

Proud and slightly anxious parents are leaving their teens for the entire week.

“We’re going to show them what it’s like to be a police officer,” Officer Luna said.

The new youth “recruits” will stay in the dorms at the training center in Santa Fe just like the real academy recruits.

“It’s awesome right, imagine being a junior or senior in high school and you’re coming to a State Police camp basically,” Officer Luna said.

It’s a packed schedule, defensive driving, shooting practice, crime scene investigating, first aid, defense tactics, bomb squad and aircraft demonstrations.

“Right now they’re probably scared, they have no idea what to think or what to expect but by graduation what we want them to think is wow we had a great experience,” he said, adding the State Police Youth Academy is different than other departments’.

Students from all corners of the state are welcomed.

“We’re going to instill some kind of responsibility, integrity, leadership skills in these kids as well,” Officer Luna said.

Local restaurants donated food for the kids for the entire week.

The youth academy costs families absolutely nothing.

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