The Diversity in Law Enforcement Academy held by Salem County Prosecutor’s Office teaches high school level students the necessary skills to be a police officer. Detectives from the Prosecutor’s Office demonstrate teamwork.

By Rebecca Kolimaga for

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The youth attending the latest Diversity in Law Enforcement Academy had a chance to learn what it is really like to serve and protect the public as a police officer.

They learn skills such as self-defense, restraining a suspect and how to deal with a hostile individual.

“The idea was to create a program for Salem County youth to expose them to opportunities in law enforcement and give them an understanding of what they would go through if they went to an academy. We want officers that are representative of our communities,” said Salem County Chief of County Detectives Brian Facemyer.

DILEA, held at Salem County Vocational-Technical Schools, is run by the Salem County Prosecutor’s Office.

This was the fourth year for the program and 25 participants, aged 14 to 18, from Penns Grove, Carneys Point, Salem, Pittsgrove, Woodstown and Elmer took part.

“They’re gaining a better understanding and appreciation for what it takes to be a police officer,” said Facemyer.

As the week went on “you really see enthusiasm,” said Facemyer, “I give all of them credit for coming out in the summer. They could’ve sat home and watched TV.”

All costs are covered by the prosecutor’s office and all squad leaders are either prosecutors, detectives or sheriff’s officers.

Local police officers and guest speakers, including a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, talked about why they became involved with law enforcement and give demonstrations.

Each morning, participants began with physical training and drill before attending classes. Physical training included obstacle courses and relay races.

Classes followed and included officer survival and videos of officers reacting in critical instances.

Graduation for the program was held Friday.


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