Cane Bay High School’s Law Enforcement Academy gives students early experience in law careers

A unique program at Cane Bay High School prepares students for entry-level positions in local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. We’re in Berkeley county for our Cool School of the week.

Students are learning how to conduct a traffic stop as part of the Law Enforcement Academy at Cane Bay High School. Now in its second year, the academy has nearly three hundred students. The academy has three instructors, two former law enforcement officers and an attorney. The Law Enforcement Academy is a part of Cane Bay High’s career and technology program. Peter Wright is a former police officer and one of the instructors. “The Law Enforcement Academy is our attempt to introduce students to the profession of law enforcement. It starts out with an introduction course, which we familiarize students with constitutional and state law, and introduce them to some very basic law enforcement tactics, handcuffing, unknown risk traffic stops. Once they complete that successfully, they move on to law enforcement level one, which is one of the two advanced courses. In that course, we get a little more hands on. We teach them to do all aspects of law enforcement, not just the basic stuff,” Wright says. The academy also has a law education component and youth court program run by students.

The program is a partnership with the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office. Wight says, “Sheriff Lewis has been gracious enough being our business partner. He gives us unlimited access to his deputies as it relates to training, so we constantly have sheriff’s deputies from the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office in and out of the classrooms, in and out of the training scenerios, and they bring with them that hands on experience, and those stories of things they actually experienced on the street. It translates well to the students, and lets them get a good idea of what they’re lining themselves up to do.” Sophomore Draven Toothman says, “I think its great. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve got great teachers. I have career goals, and this is what I want to work up to. This is the foundation, so this is where to get started. I want to work for the FBI.”

The program is so popular, the school will adding extra courses next year. Principal Tim McDowell says, “It’s phenomenal. The kids love it. The kids are learning behind the scenes. I think it just gives extra respect. The deputies are in our building a good bit. They form relationships with the kids, so it’s a win win for both sides, for the school and the sheriff’s office.”

Cane Bay High School has more than 17 different career pathways for students. Coming up Friday on News 2, we’ll present Cane Bay with our Cool School award.

We want to hear about the good things that are going on at your school. Just send an email to Octavia at omitchell@ wcbd.com.

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