High schoolers in Monmouth County are gaining some first-hand experience during the 28th annual (did not take place in 2020) Monmouth County Sheriff's Youth Week.

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It provides an opportunity for the youth interested in a future in law enforcement themselves as well as learning more about the men and women who serve our communities.

"It's all about engagement and education and our future in law enforcement and public safety, and they are," Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden said. "They have an interest, they want to take a week for an unusual summer camp I call it, it's not your usual summer camp, and they come in and do a drill and exercise and then they're off to do different things."

Throughout the week, participants rotate in groups through various drills, activities and educational lessons including internet safety, physical conditioning, opioid awareness, women in law enforcement, simulator drills for driving a patrol car and deescalation training as well as a drone demo, learning about K-9's, working with Detectives to solve mock crimes and conducting a motor vehicle stop taking turns as both the police officer and the driver.

"We saw from the side of getting pulled over to pulling people over ourselves," Ralph D'Errico from Middletown said. "We basically saw how to handle yourself, how to speak firm and confident."

The high school students learned that being physically fit is very important in law enforcement as they participated in various drills.

"We ran a mile-and-a-half and then we did some pull-ups, we did lunges, step-ups, sit-ups and we did pushups too," Lucas Urrutia from Tinton Falls said.

Lessons learned in the classroom and with a hands-on experience is something these high school students are taking great value in and getting an appreciation for what's required of law enforcement officers.

"The officers and everybody go through a lot of training, really a lot, all different types of training, it's not like what the normal person would assume, they just do causal stuff that's just really intense that I've seen so far, just really intense," Noah Foggy from Keansburg said.

Monmouth County Sheriff's Youth Week also helps develop skillsets and mindsets needed to work in law enforcement.

"I just really like it, I'm really into law enforcement right now and this is why I took the Sheriff's Youth Week and if I do pursue this, I'm not even sure yet what I want to do, there's so many options, so many branches you can go into," Foggy said.

"It's very important to me because I want to be able to do this when I'm older and if I don't learn this stuff, I'll never be able to reach my full potential and won't be able to work as a police officer," Laci Fancher from Howell said. "I've learned that being a police officer is going to be a lot harder than I thought it would be because of all the training and stuff that you have to go through. I thought it was going to be easy but it can be stressful so I just have to keep doing what I'm doing if I want to reach my dream."

Sheriff Golden sees future potential in this group and has been encouraging them to ask questions as they go through each day to learn more about each division of law enforcement and how everything operates.

"I've watched them this week, it's been a great week of education for them and hopefully they stay interested because again it's about our future and I think we see some future leaders in law enforcement and public safety in this group," Golden said.

This week is for those entering high school or who just graduated and for the older group, especially those seeking a future in law enforcement, there's a few ways they can get involved right now.

"I always tell them to keep engaging in the community, I mean that is the biggest thing, we're so community oriented here in law enforcement. Local law enforcement is the backbone to public safety here in the state of New Jersey," Golden said. "So engage, whether that is volunteering for your community events, whether it is engaging in your future education as an EMT or a firefighter, meet some of the law enforcement, meet some of the chiefs and get out there. It becomes about engagement, if you engage and you want a career in law enforcement, that's how you obtain a career in law enforcement."

Whether it's the Monmouth County Sheriff's Youth Week or a similar program run by the local police department in their town, Sheriff Golden encourages the youth to get out there and become engaged and involved so they grow their skills and relationships in the community.

Monmouth County Sheriff's Youth Week 2021

First Responders Appreciation