Police academy activities help children understand the police officer's role in the community. Kids who do not know that police officers are there to help them in times of trouble and to fight crime may feel scared and intimidated when they see a police officer. Accordingly, police academy activities paint a better picture for kids about the duties that officers perform and why they are so important.
First Aid Activities
Teaching kids about basic first aid procedures prepares them for responding in an emergency situation. When kids know how to access first aid kits and use the items stored within, they can help others who have been injured, or even help themselves. Invite a police officer to the classroom or have a teacher demonstrate the ins and outs of the first aid kit's contents. Then, teach kids about what types of situations call for certain items from the first aid kit. For instance, if someone gets a bad cut, the kids can learn to dress the wound with a bandage and apply pressure to help stop or reduce the bleeding. An important lesson in this activity is for kids to learn to always wear latex gloves when they are attempting to help someone who is bleeding for health and safety purposes.
At a police academy, officers are taught how to interrogate and question crime suspects. A police officer who comes to the classroom as a guest speaker can teach kids about the types of questions that are asked during an interrogation and why they are important. For an engaging activity, pair up the kids and have one person be the interrogator and the other person be the suspect. Describe a crime to the kids -- such as a child's bicycle being stolen from the front of a home -- and tell them it is the interrogator's job to come up with a list of questions to ask the suspect that will help solve the crime. Go around the room and listen to the types of questions that the "interrogator kids" ask the "suspect kids." The questions should reflect the kids' knowledge of what they learned from the police officer about the types of questions that are asked when investigating a crime. This is also an exercise in developing critical thinking skills.
Putting together an obstacle course for kids to complete is like creating a simulation of the physical training that students in a police academy have to undergo. The obstacle course should include a variety of physical activities, such as jumping over small mounds of sand, crawling through tunnel tubes, climbing over small walls, running for a quarter-mile and swinging from monkey bars or a safe structure that has solid rope dangling from the top. Obstacle course activities must always be monitored for safety, and kids must be instructed about how to complete the obstacle course safely.
Ask a police officer to explain and demonstrate the equipment he uses in the course of doing his job every day. Kids should be able to touch and handle certain pieces of equipment, such as handcuffs and batons. The officer can also show kids his squad car and demonstrate how the many buttons and other types of equipment, such as computers and cameras, are used. Perhaps some kids would enjoy going for a ride in the squad car around the school campus and get to turn on the siren. For an engaging in-class activity, ask a police officer to bring in fingerprinting equipment and do live demonstrations on how to collect peoples' fingerprints from a crime scene.
Collecting evidence at a crime scene is like a scavenger hunt. There are certain things that police officers must look for, which they are trained to do at the police academy. As an activity, put together a crime scene scavenger hunt for kids to complete. Items on the scavenger hunt list might be things like "find a witness," "locate the weapon" and "find three clues." This activity teaches kids what types of things cops look for at a crime scene.
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