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.