The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has expanded a special academy to inspire more teens to get into law enforcement.

This is the first year MCSO welcomed students referred from other Valley agencies to enhance their crime-fighting skills and public safety knowledge.

The free two-week course teaches cadets how to handle different scenarios in the field, communication skills and first aid. MCSO officials hope the program inspires a new generation to get into law enforcement and create a larger pool of recruits.

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“You talk to kids, young kids, and they say, 'I want to be a peace officer. I want to be a deputy sheriff when I grow up,'” says Sgt. Jesus Jerez with MCSO. “It’s great to hear but they still have a dozen years before they reach the point of making that decision.”

Agencies are having trouble with recruiting. Sgt. Jerez says this academy not only educates potential recruits at an age when they’re making career decisions, it also gets teens in the mindset that community trust comes from a strong sense of personal accountability.

There are 17 cadets wrapping up the current course. Some of them have always been interested in law enforcement because of family members who have worked in public safety, but all of them are getting a taste of academy training and expectations.

“It's always interested in me especially in the way you have to be mentally able to do things,” says 17-year-old Brody Hinsberg. “You have to be quick on your feet. You have to have some unique charisma.”

“It's a whole different side of law enforcement that any other citizen doesn't get to see,” says 18-year-old Tanner Laizure. “I’ve always liked helping people and I like being a part of something bigger than myself.”

For information on this academy program and others introducing youth to law enforcement careers, call the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office or email them at mcso.cadets@mcso.maricopa.gov.

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Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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