Police academy shows youth what it’s like to be an officer

MARYSVILLE – Twins Ariana and Aseneth Castaneda aren’t sure what they want to do for careers.

They are going to be seniors at Marysville Getchell High School next year in Bio-Med, so they’d like to figure it out.

They both have thought about law enforcement as they have an uncle who is on a SWAT team in California.

They have heard his stories, but Wednesday they got to feel what it is like firsthand as part of the Marysville Police Department’s first Youth Academy. About 25 students are learning first-hand what it is like to be an officer.

As part of the training, they got to ride in the city’s new SWAT vehicle, a Bearcat.

The sisters said they wanted to learn “about every aspect” of being a police officer, so they decided to take the academy.

“We still don’t know what we want to do,” Aseneth said.

Ariana said the academy is giving them “a real life picture” of being an officer. “Reality instead of like the movies.”

Aseneth said she liked the Special Weapons and Tactic class the best so far, but also enjoyed hearing the stories of the police who are instructing the classes. She said she has a better understanding that police are “human, not perfect.” She also said people can never understand what police go through without doing it themselves.

Ariana said her favorite part was running with the canines as they tracked down a scent. She liked the SWAT part, too.

“We got to dress up and play the part,” she said. “It’s not easy being in it. Now we know what it’s like being realistic.”

Prior to the role-play, Cmdr. Mark Thomas told the students to get mentally focused for a serious raid. They put on vests and helmets and went inside the school for a fake drug bust.

Thomas said a real raid takes about 10 days to plan. Police scout out the place first, taking photos

“We sit and watch for hours,” to figure out the best time for the bust, he said.

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