According to the Brighton Police Department officer who worked tirelessly to create the program, the first-ever Police Youth Leadership Academy this summer was an unqualified success. Officer Chris Parks, who was in charge of the academy, told the Brighton City Council Thursday that everything went off without a hitch, including the landing and static display of a US Army Chinook helicopter at Brighton High School.

Slightly over 20 youths in the 7th and 8th grades of the Brighton Area Schools were selected for the academy, which took place during the month of July. Officer Parks told council the goal of the enrollees becoming more self-confident, while learning leadership and team building skills, was met.

The students also gained knowledge into how police officers train. The students came away with certifications in first aid/CPR and the use of an automated external defibrillator, boater’s safety, hunter’s safety, and an introduction into scuba diving.

Other presentations the youth were afforded an opportunity to hear were by the US Coast Guard, the National Guard, MSP Bomb Squad and Brighton Department’s own K-9 dog, Danko. The youths were taken on tours of the 53rd District Court in Howell and other locations. The academy was offered at no cost to the students and a free lunch was provided.

Parks said that many local stores and local companies donated food and other items to make the Police Youth Leadership Academy the unqualified success it was. As a result, Parks says he plans to make the academy an annual event. (TT) Photo credit: Deb Utter, Brighton Police Dept.