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Freehold Borough Youth Police Academy Inspires Kids to Never Give Up

The two-week summer program is free and applications are due on June 8.

Around 30 kids will have to opportunity to experience a 2-week police academy boot camp through the this summer.

The Freehold Borough Youth Police Academy runs from 8:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. every weekday from July 23 through Aug. 3. The program is free and open to local students age 12 to 16-years-old.

“It is just like the real police academy,” explained Steppat. “This is not your average summer camp. The kids will learn how to march and if the don’t do it right, they will have to do push-ups. Drill sergeants will yell in their face.”

The program is open to all kids who live in the borough, not just those with aspirations to become a cop. According to Steppat, the program offers a life lesson of working hard and achieving your goals. 

“What I think is the most important part about the academy is that the kids learn teamwork and to never give up,” said Steppat. “It’s really tough and the sense of accomplishment the kids feel when they graduate is something they will never forget.”

During the two weeks, participants will learn from a variety of law enforcement agencies from the local to federal level. The students will spend the mornings at the police department where they will learn about law enforcement and the afternoons at the where they will be given demonstrations and participate in a variety of activities. Some of the experiences participants will have are the following:

  • Forensics Team: What is real and what is CSI?
  • Participate in Mock Arrests (Some Drivers get nasty!)
  • Bomb Dog Demo
  • Monmouth County Swat Team where they will demo how to blow-up a door and simulate a take-over
  • State Police Helicopter
  • Mock Raid where participants will wear all protective police gear including shields

In addition to the exciting law enforcement demonstrations, the participants will also receive physical training.

“In the age of video games and laptops, some of these kids have never even run a mile in their entire life,” said Steppat. “During their time with us, we will do physical training and prepare them to run what I call the Miracle Mile. At the end of the camp, the kids will run together down the center of town.”

Participants are required to complete the full two-week program, which ends with a in front of over 200 people. The program supplies uniforms, lunches, real FBPD ID tag, photos to document participation and a video of highlights from the camp.

Applications are due on June 8. You can download an application on the Freehold Borough Police Department website. If more than 30 kids apply, participants will be chosen through a lottery system.

This is the 5th year that the borough police are hosting this program. The program started 4-years ago with funding from The Great Grant which promoted education and training. The following 3 years, the program was supported by the JAG grant.

Now, in its 5th year, there is no outside funding for the program. “Officers and the PBA give back by helping out without taking full-pay for the hours they put in,” explained Steppat. “We are not getting any extra money, we are just doing it because we know how important this program is.”

The department also hosts clothing drives to fundraise for the program. Local businesses like Sorrento’s Subs and Stefano’s Pizza also donate lunch for the program. The borough council has also showed their support of the program by offering some available funding.

If you are interested in supporting this program through donations or fundraisers, contact Sergant Ronnie Steppat at 732-462-1234 or steppatr@freeholdpolice.org

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