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Summer program explores public safety careers (Photo Gallery)




The Cleveland Police Foundation spent the summer helping CMSD students explore careers in public safety. Along the way, the students picked up some skills that will prove useful in any field and in life.

Fifty area students, the majority of them from District schools, completed the six-week Cleveland Police Summer Pipeline Program at CMSD’s Martin Luther King Jr. Campus. The program wrapped up Friday with a closing ceremony in the City Hall rotunda.

The students, ages 14 to 19, learned about police, fire and emergency medical operations, not only the city’s but those at agencies that included NASA, the Cleveland Metroparks and RTA. They also went on field trips to destinations such as the Ohio Police Officer Training Academy, completed research projects and participated in mock job interviews.

The program, in its second year, is designed to get students thinking about joining city safety forces and becoming “guardians” of their community, said Angela Thi Bennett, the police foundation’s director of development and programming.

But Bennett, who oversees the program, said the experiences also broaden the teenagers’ perspectives and challenge them to “do more than they think they are capable of.”

“This summer was about pushing them out of their comfort zones, taking risks and trying things they have never tried before,” she said.

Tyrence James, a new graduate of the Martin Luther King Jr. Campus, will study criminal justice at Wright State University. After college, he hopes to join the Cleveland Police Department and perhaps someday the Secret Service.

James has long wanted to work in law enforcement so he could help others but said he appreciated the program's emphasis on being respectful, learning from mistakes and showing professionalism. Bennett has had a major influence on him, he said.

“She’s here for me; I want to be there for the next person,” he said. “That’s going to be my career goal.”

The program’s focus on the importance of good life choices made a strong impression on Tynazia Powell, who graduated this year from Max S. Hayes High School.

“This program needs to be in schools, kids need to learn about this,” said Powell, who will study criminal justice at Central State University. “They can get involved in situations that can ruin the rest of their lives. This shows them how to be responsible so they can take care of themselves and not put themselves in certain positions.”

Students and their families filled the City Hall rotunda on Friday. Bennett passed out certificates and presented awards for top research projects, performance in the mock interviews and attendance.

Mayor Frank G. Jackson addressed the students and later posed with each for a photograph. He spoke to them about the meaning of public service and delivered a message to those who will choose it as a career.

"I want to thank you in advance for being public servants," he said.

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