Lowell Middle School Police Academy Expands for After School

LOWELL —Friday, Jan. 21, the Middle School Police Academy began at Sullivan Middle School and Butler Middle School, with more than 50 students signed up for the eight weekly sessions that are held on Friday afternoons after school. Lowell Police Department School Resource Officer Mindy Dower and School Resource Officer Jose Santiago each lead an academy, getting to know students, forming relationships, and sharing lessons on gang, drug and alcohol awareness. There are also presentations that include police K-9s, and even a visit from fellow first responders from the Lowell Fire Department.

“The activities and lessons at our Middle School Police Academy are designed to help students develop self-esteem, self-confidence, leadership skills, and the ability to work as part of a team, all while also building students’ knowledge and forming relationships,” said Deputy Superintendent Barry Golner. “I want to thank the Lowell Public Schools for being such a great partner in this endeavor, and all of the officers and community members who have supported this effort.”

Students line up at the police academy held at the Stoklosa Middle School last year. Photo Supplied by Lowell Police Department

The collaborative effort, launched last year, provides students in Grades 5-8 at Lowell Public Schools an opportunity to learn about first aid and CPR, recognizing and preventing bullying, Internet Safety, responsibility, leadership, and more, all within an overall framework that promotes health and wellness

“Those of us at the Lowell Police Department want to be a part of our community and a resource to residents young and old, but we can’t do that by just sitting back, enforcing the law, and seeking out interactions with our youth only when trouble arises,” said Superintendent Richardson. “We believe that the earlier we are able to form healthy and respectful relationships with young people, the more young Lowell residents will build a comfort level with police officers, an understanding of what we do, and an awareness of the issues that face our youth in today’s environment.”

The expanded partnership between police and the school department began last summer, when Lowell Public Schools provided tutors and teachers to enable Lowell Police to expand on a three-week Student Police Academy that has been run during the summer in Lowell for 22 years. Superintendent Richardson and Lowell Public Schools officials at the Student Police Academy graduation had a conversation about how such opportunities could be provided throughout the school year, leading to the partnership expanding to include the eight-week after school academies.

“The Student Police Academy program provides an excellent learning and character-building opportunity for our students that also serves to build lasting relationships between them and our local police officers,” said Superintendent Boyd. “We are fortunate to have such a strong partnership with the Lowell Police Department. The lessons learned in this program will help make our young people better leaders and members of the community.”

Additional academies are planned for the Wang Middle School and Daley Middle School later in the Spring. To register for an upcoming Middle School Police Academy, click here.