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Tyrone sixth grade students graduate from Police Academy program

Last evening, a group of 21 Tyrone Middle School sixth grade students became the fifth class to graduate from the ‘Sixth Grade Police Academy’ program organized by Chief Mark Frailey and Officer Robert Dick of the Tyrone Area School District Police.
A ceremony was held in front of family, friends and school administrators for the sixth graders who embarked into a program that teaches what it is like to go through a police academy.
The students learned skills that police academy cadets learn at the police academy, they learned some vehicle and criminal laws, police procedures, history of policing and explored the different functions of police officers.
The students were expected to take notes as police officers do on everything, listen and be respectful to instructors and special guests, follow directions when using some expensive tools and equipment, pass a written test, and most of all to have fun.
The program consisted of nine weeks with an academy outline stemming from a week one lesson introduction of the history, functions, types of departments and oat of office to a week four lesson on the science of fingerprinting, all the way into a week nine review and test.
Chief Frailey provided a welcoming with Dr. John Vendetti, middle school principal, offering opening remarks to the students who faithfully passed the police academy program. There were also student presentations displaying some of the things learned while participating in the program, including fingerprinting, metal detector usage, acutrak, alco blow and face description.
A keynote address was given by a special guest speaker Colonel John A. Hugya, who is presently assistant director of the Johnstown Regional Police Academy, State Police certified police academy instructor, NRA and State certified police firearms instructor, retired marine, and serves as the District Administrative Assistant to Congressman John P. Murtha, PA, 12th District, along with a long list of many other honors and employment.
Col. Hugya has given 37 years of his life and counting to law enforcement, so he had plenty to offer to the sixth grade students at TAMS. He spoke of how one becomes a police officer in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and talked about the criteria expected to enter the police academy in PA.
Hugya also noted to the students that police work is part military and that type of respect comes with the training to become a police officer. He emphasized that the police academy is open to women as well as men and that law enforcement is fulfilling in the satisfaction of the work, but sadness comes along with it because of the sights of child abuse, neglect, drug abuse and crime in general.
After Col. Hugya gave his address, all 21 students received a certificate for passing the program, and in a warm gesture, Hugya himself received a certificate from the sixth grade students, by which he said he will frame and place proudly at the police academy.
“I think this is a turning point in their young lives,” said Hugya. “At this age they start watching what the older kids do and they need a good peer, someone other than their parents, and they work within their peer group, but they have to have something to start getting them into a sense of values – and this is where this young police academy will help them with discipline, knowledge, and an understanding of how police really work.
Hugya added, “I feel that this program is a worthwhile addition and I think they should do this in more schools. They get to feel that there is something out there and maybe we should be friends with the police, maybe it’s a good thing to be the good guy.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. William Miller and Middle School Principal Dr. John Vendetti are very supportive of the Sixth Grade Police Academy, as both were in attendance during the ceremony.
“This is a wonderful activity, it lets our students know a little bit about the law system in our country and how it works,” said Vendetti. “It also shows them respect for authority and for police officers who are out on the line everyday putting their lives in danger for them, and keeping our community safe.”
Chief Frailey added, “I thought this was a great turnout and I’m proud of the students who participated. It was a real honor to have Col. Hugya here; it was a very positive event and it meant a lot to the sixth graders.”
All of the academy students enjoyed their time during the program and learned a great deal about police work and what it takes to become a police officer.
Shannon Miller, a sixth grade academy student stated, “We got to study crime and see how everything got started, and it benefits you because it can help you out in the future.”
“I think Chief Frailey and everyone did a great job in teaching us,” added Miller.
The Sixth Grade Police Academy wanted to thank the Kiwanis Club for donating $50 for pizza and the Eagle Inn and Mrs. Paula Binus for baking a cake for the ceremony.