Madeline Wyka, Staff Writer – Every year, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office puts on an event called the Teen Citizen’s Academy, available to students from Citrus [CHS], Crystal River [CRHS], or Lecanto High School [LHS]. Students can sign up for the hands-on twelve week course for a chance to experience a behind the scenes look at the operations of the local law enforcement. Every Thursday, participants meet at the Emergency Operations Center in Lecanto.
Citizen’s Academy has been going on for over 25 years, and this year, there is a total of 35 students attending the academy. Over three weeks have been completed, meaning the students have been spoken to by officials from human resources, information technology, student resources, community relations, and most recently the victim advocate program.
Community relations assistant, Jessie Santero, has attended each session of the academy as a director for the students.
“I really would love for students to walk away with a better understanding of how the Sheriff’s Office operates,” said Santero, “I think it is important to have that knowledge because it allows you to become more connected with your community and the people who keep you safe everyday.”
So far the academy has been a great eye-opener for many of the students attending.
“I had no idea being a police officer had all these benefits, but it’s so much work,” said LHS freshman Jackie Cook.
The academy also provides it’s participants with a total of 36 service hours for their time.
“The service hours is the main reason I signed up, but now I’m glad that I did,” said LHS sophomore Jordan Johnston
The students have already met Kim Palmer, Brittney Carmen, and Debi Eorgen, and next week they will be introduced to several more new faces.
The Citizen’s Academy has been and will continue to be a great experience for students all around the county, bringing together the youth of our community to learn about the people that protect it.