Dalton High students become first to try new law enforcement camp launched in Georgia

School Resource Officer Bart Chandler explains what to do when clearing a building.

A new program to get high school kids interested in law enforcement jobs was introduced in Georgia this week, and Dalton High School students are the first in the entire state to test it out.

The American Legion partners with local police departments in 21 other states to put on the camp.

"Georgia did not have it, " said Dewey Moss with the American Legion. "We’ve already gotten responses back from as far as Valdosta asking if we can help them get started and that’s the ultimate goal – to see this expanded to a statewide program."

The Dalton Police Department (DPD) is working with a group of 20 students all week long, guiding them through interactive exercises that demonstrate what it is like to be a police officer.

On Tuesday, School Resource Officer Bart Chandler showed students step-by-step how to clear a building when responding to different calls.

"We also have a station set up where they’re working on accident investigations and another station set up where they’re using our use-of-force simulator to understand when that force is allowed by law," said Chandler.

Moss and Chandler say they want the students to think about a future in police work.

"After college, I do think that becoming a police officer is something that I might want to look into," said upcoming junior Tania Ramirez.

Organizers also hope students will walk away with a new respect for the profession.

"We're not out here just to take somebody to jail," said Chandler. "We're a community resource that can be used to help you through life."

The students will participate in a community service project before they graduate from the camp Friday.

The American Legion and DPD aim to open it up to the larger community in the future.

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