SIDNEY — The Sidney Police Department held a graduation ceremony Wednesday, June 6, at police headquarters for the participants of the Community Teen Law Enforcement Workshop.
Open to all ninth- through 12th-graders in Shelby County, the workshop took place June 4 to 6. According to Chief of Police William Balling, the main goal of the program was to “build bonds between the Sidney Police Department and our students through trust and understanding.”
The workshop consisted of classroom presentations, a tour of the facilities, mock crime scene investigations, and firsthand experience with things like K-9 operations and police ride-alongs.
“We really just wanted to focus on educating (the students) about the police profession and letting them form their own opinions,” said Sgt. Jeremy Lorenzo at Wednesday’s graduation. “We also want to build a bridge, a bond, with our younger population here in Sidney.”
Balling also spoke at the graduation and gave thanks to local individuals and organizations that made the workshop possible, including Marian Spicer and The Community Foundation, which provided a grant that went toward the cost of T-shirts and lunch for the students.
Balling thanked David Gaylor, of Tradewinds Financial, who donated money to cover the remaining cost of providing lunches during the three-day event.
Balling also acknowledged David O’Leary, operations director for the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA. O’Leary and the Y provided a free summer membership to each student participant.
Mayor Mike Barhorst was in attendance and thanked the students for giving up time from the beginning of their summer to attend the educational workshop.
“The piece of advice I would give you,” Barhorst said in closing, “is everyday, do something kind for someone, and everyday, stay safe.”
Brock Rogers, of Botkins, was one of Wednesday’s graduates. He said he enjoyed the workshop, with his favorite part being the K-9 operations segment, during which he volunteered to get bitten by K-9 Officer Duke while wearing a protective arm shield.
Rogers said he hopes to one day become a police officer. It has been his dream occupation since he was in the first grade.
“I watched the TV show ‘Cops,’” he said. “I started looking into it and decided that’s what I really want to do.”
“It was awesome,” Rogers said of the workshop. “If I had the option to do it again, I really would.”