The Beckley Police Department gave local middle schoolers a behind-the-scenes look at what it's like to work in law enforcement through its 2019 Junior Police and Leadership Academy.

Over the course of five days, students learned about self-defense, polygraphy, domestic violence, crime investigation, CPR and first aid. The group also tried on emergency equipment with the help of the Beckley Fire Department and Jan-Care Ambulance. 

Cpl. Legursky said he feels like the academy is a great investment into local youth. 

"I hope they get a better sense of law enforcement and how we serve them," Legursky said. "Maybe they have an interest in law enforcement and this will help garner something in their future."

On Friday's session, the group wrapped up the week with a mock search for an imaginary fugitive at the Beckley Police shooting range. Led by Jason Hudson and Josh Turner, both Division of Natural Resources Officers, the students were careful not to "contaminate" the scene while looking for clues, such as impressions in the dirt and grass.

Park Middle School student Hailey Blake, 13, said the academy has given her new insight on the field of law enforcement. 

"I enjoyed it a lot and learned quite a bit," Hailey said. "I'm going to miss all of the officers. They're a lot of fun."

In addition to the mental exercise, the group also got physical. The students ran a half-mile each day and also took a nutrition class. Cpl. Hall said he believes these practices can be easily applied in the students' day-to-day lives.

"It helps instill discipline in their life from a law enforcement and personal standpoint," Hall said. 

Beckley Police Department would also like to thank the Division of Natural Resources, Woodrow Wilson High School and Family Martial Arts for aiding with the camp. 

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