Hudson Police Department conducts youth academy
By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson – Thirty boys and girls who are entering grades seven to nine now have a better understanding of law enforcement after attending the Hudson Police Department's annual Summer Youth Academy from July 7 through 11. Detective Chad Crogan began instructing with the academy in 2008 and has served as its director since 2011.
“It's a great experience for the kids to learn what we do as police officers from day to day,” he said. “They learn that policing is a very demanding job, but it can also be fun.”
Each of the eight-hour days began with physical training consisting of running and calisthenics.
On Monday, the cadets learned how to march, stand at attention and at ease, and the proper way to address a superior officer. Afterward, they toured the station including its cells, booking area and 911 center. They also began handling police equipment and gear.
“The kids like the hands-on stuff like learning to use the baton.” Crogan noted.
On Tuesday, defensive tactics were taught by Doug MacDonald, a karate instructor from Rising Sun Martial Arts Studio in Hudson, who volunteers his time for the academy.
Later that day, the cadets attempted to maneuver a golf cart while wearing Fatal Vision Goggles, which has a lens that allows the wearer to experience a realistic impairment simulation.
“We told them about the penalties of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and what would happen to their life afterward,” Crogan said.
A highlight on Wednesday was the arrival of the UMass Memorial LifeFlight helicopter from Worcester, which landed on the grounds of Mulready Elementary School. The pilot, nurse and medic shared stories with the cadets about their job responsibilities and showed them around the helicopter's interior where patients are treated.
“Some of the kids were asking some in-depth questions about their training as a medic on a helicopter,” Crogan relayed. “And they really enjoyed seeing the helicopter land and take off right in front of them.”
The cadets were visited Thursday morning by Lieutenant Mike Kelley and Officer Rick Vieira from the Middlesex Sheriff's Office K-9 Unit. They brought along their German shepherd, Mickey. Following a question-and-answer period inside the station, the cadets were in awe as they watched an outdoor demonstration of the police K-9 in action.
That afternoon, an exercise was conducted in which the police officers wore a padded suit and played the bad guy. Meanwhile, the cadets acted the role of a police officer in various scenarios.
“The cadets learned the use of force when they arrested us,” Crogan explained. “When the kids hit the officers with the baton, it doesn's hurt as much with the padded suit.”
Their active final day included a lesson in firearms safety followed by shooting 9mm-size paint rounds at a target. Next, the cadets were challenged with an obstacle course in which they needed to exit from a cruiser, serpentine through some tires and barrels, and drag a dummy before handcuffing a suspect.
The five-day program concluded Friday afternoon with a graduation ceremony attended by the cadets” proud family members.
“We see a big progression from Monday to Friday,” Crogan said. “We'se teaching them to do things that they'se never done before. By Friday, they'se more confident with themselves.”
Other academy instructors were Detective Sergeant Chris Shea, and Officers Roger Downing and Dennis Hatstat.
The August session of the popular Summer Youth Academy is already filled with 35 cadets.
Photos/Ed Karvoski Jr.
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