Police Officers who care about kids.

The Junior Police Academy recently reinstated its Section 501c3 tax exempt status.

“This represents a significant milestone for the program,” stated Phillip LeConte, Co-founder and Executive Director of JPA. “Returning the group to a stand-alone organization has long been discussed and we are fortunate to have an amazing group of veteran police offices step forward to take this program into the future."

Since the program's beginnings in 1992, the program has been a gathering place for police officers who are willing to go that extra mile for the young people in their community.

“Junior Police Academy bridges the tremendous gap between today's youth and law enforcement officers.” stated Chief Thomas Clemons (Seward Police Department, Alaska).

One of the first police chiefs to adopt the program, Clemons serves on the board of the organization, along with four other veterans of the program: Officer Eric Edson (Sheboygan Police Department), Chief Chad Pusey (Oblong Police Department), retired officer and teacher Suzanne D’Ambrose (Monmouth County Voc-Tech School, Freehold, New Jersey) and LeConte, who co-founded the organization with his father, retired police officer Robert LeConte who died in 2000.

AN HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY

The announcement comes at a time when the nation's bond between police officers and citizens is at a critical crossroads. "Never has the program been more relevant to the problems we face as a nation,” stated Det. Edson. “JPA offers kids and local communities an alternative to the future we currently face as a nation."

“A young person’s attitude towards police officers plays an enormous role in their development as a citizen,” adds Chief Chad Pusey, who has used the program to bring citizens together in his small rural community in downstate Illinois.  "the Junior Police Academy offers a simple, effective way to bridge the gap between cops and kids before it becomes an insurmountable gulf."

“I feel a great sense of urgency regarding this program, stated LeConte. "The events of the past year are a painful reminder that now, more than ever, young people and police officers need to build a bond of friendship and trust."

Now more than ever, JPA is positioned to meet the challenges ahead and sow the seeds vital to every community  — civic pride and a sense of individual responsibility.

Here are just a few of the many people who have inspired and help build this program.

Special thanks go to Chief Tom Clemons for his inspiration and support; and Pat Fuller (former Chief of the Austin ISD Police Department, currently a Director atthe Austin Parks and Recreation Department) not only for shepherded this program through its early years, but allowing us to have some fun in the process.

The wonderful & Suzanne D’Ambrose (Monmouth County Voc-Tech School, Freehold, New Jersey) & John Schneiter.

Austin ISD Police Department

Chief Eric Mendez,  Austin Independent School District Police Department, Austin, Texas

Lt Rodney Anderson,  Austin Independent School District Police Department, Austin, Texas

Sgt. Beverly Freshour,  Austin Independent School District Police Department, Austin, Texas

Officer David Powers,  Austin Independent School District Police Department, Austin, Texas

We are proud to acknowledge the tremendous contributions of our Advisory Council, past and present:

Officer Mitchell Garcia: Houston Police Department, Texas

Officer James Adams: Hanford Police Department, California

Lt Robert Goetz, Everett Police Department

Officer John Clapp: Collin County Community College Police Department with campuses in Plano, Frisco, and McKinney, Texas

Officer James Taylor: Goshen Township Police Department, Ohio

Officer Mark Dillon: Hanford Police Department, California

Captain Tom Long: Herkimer Police Department, New York, retired

Deputy Cory Hughston: Crime Prevention Specialist, Victoria County Sheriff’s Office, Texas

Patricia Montemayor, Private Investigator.   Former SRO for Murchison Middle School, Austin ISD, Texas

Officer Eric Edson, Sheboygan Police Department

Chief Chad Pusey, Oblong Police Department

Sgt. Pauleen Hatch

Austin Independent School District
Police Department, Austin, Texas

Sheila Anderson
Austin Independent School District
Police Department, Austin, Texas

Patricia Lyle
Retired, Lamar Middle School Principal, Austin, Texas

Officer Rick Jennings,
Pequannock Community Policing

NASRO

Bill Deckard, Secretary NASRO

Kansas City, Kansas Police Department

Chief Rick Armstrong of the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department

Assistant Chief Terry Zeigler of the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department

Dr. Cynthia Lane, Superintendent of the Kansas City Public Schools

Officer Steve Williams of the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department

Lt. Col Terence Hall of the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department

Lisa Garcia, Director of Student Services, Kansas City Public Schools

Officer Gary Richards, Temple, Texas Police Department

Charles A. Miller, Jr., Criminal Justice Teacher, Westwood High School, Austin, Texas, Lt. Colonel United States National Guard.

Ms. Rhonda Haynes, Project Director Public Service, Law- Related Education, State Bar of Texas

Ms. Jan L. Miller, Coordinator, Hatton W. Sumners Foundation Institutes on the Founding Documents, State Bar of Texas

We also benefit mightily from the time and dedication of countless volunteers and staff, including:

David Dierks
Kelly LeConte
June Mellon
Paul Kutak
Greg Bolin

And the late Edward J. Cain, Jr., Associate Professor, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, who, like the Northern Star, provided guidance and helped us take an idea and turn it into something that shines.

And to Robert LeConte, to whom this program is lovingly dedicated.

You have all enriched this program. To each of you, our heartfelt thanks.

Sincerely,

Phil LeConte, Executive Director

 

Board of Directors:

Chief Tom Clemons, Seward, Alaska

Suzanne D’Ambrose, Monmouth County Voc-Tech School, retired

Officer Eric Edson, Sheboygan Police Department

Chief Chad Pusey, Oblong Police Department

Phillip LeConte, co-founder

 

The First Cadets

Phillip LeConte & Kelly LeConte with father Robert LeConte. 

My name is Phillip LeConte; I am the Executive Director of the Junior Police Academy. Kelly LeConte, my sister, is our Program Director.

Twenty years ago, back in 1992, the Junior Police Academy got started by tapping into a simple, yet powerful idea: when you bring police officers and kids together, you get better police officers and better kids.

In this regard, you could say that my sister Kelly and I are true believers. 

Phillip LeConte with father Robert LeConte

Phillip LeConte with father Robert LeConte

Our father, Robert LeConte, served on our hometown police department, and together with our wonderful mother, guided us throughout his life. It is something of an understatement to say that we all are better for the experience.

In a sense, Kelly and I were the first JPA cadets - no t-shirts, but plenty regiment. 

I can't say that it was always easy. It wasn't.

Law enforcement officers work in shifts, and family life is often in the shadow of its demands. Still, I would not trade those experiences. They have informed and enriched my life in ways that have become easier to define over the years. 

Kelly & Phillip LeConte

Since our father's death in 2000, my sister and I have found great solace in working with police officers across the country. Watching these men and women work with young people invariably reminds me of that fundamental virtue Dad furnished Kelly and I - namely a rock-solid, uncomplicated anchor upon which we could always rely.

In today's world of virtual connectedness, young people, now more than ever, need to engage with someone unambiguously authentic. That is the promise of the Junior Police Academy - to bring young people and police officers together and then stand back.

The essential quality of what happens next is part of the living legacy of Robert LeConte, our father. 

Kelly and I extend our gratitude to all of you who have helped keep it alive.