Chief Michael Lyle and the Melrose Police Department recently graduated two classes of the 2014 Melrose Junior Police Academy. This summer program which was new this year was introduced for girls and boys ranging from ages 10 -13. It was located at the Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School. Each student was chosen after filling out an application that included a question about their interest in the Junior Police Academy. The Academy consisted of two separate one week sessions. The first session started on July 7 and the second started on July 14. The sessions began at 8:30 and ended at 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
On day one of the academy the students were greeted by academy staff members Sgt. Charles Byrne, Melrose School Resource Officer James Applegate and Officer Alan Brown. After introductions, roll call and the pledge of allegiance came next. This was followed by a welcome from Chief Lyle. From there the students learned the rules, the week’s schedule, and were then asked to introduce themselves. They were then given a presentation on the history of the Melrose Junior Police by Officer Brown. The group was broken down into three squads with the older students assigned as squad leaders.
Day one also included physical training “PT” led by Sgt. Byrne with the assistance of volunteer instructor Josh Brown and volunteer Ben Quinn. The physical training included stretching, calisthenics, running, and competitive squad games involving focus, speed and team work. Following the PT, Detective Dan Ehlers taught the first academy class on “Cyber Safety” which educated the children on the dangers that can be encountered while using technology.
During the rest of the week the boys and girls continued their PT and classes taught by different Melrose Police Officers and members of the Melrose Alliance Against Violence. The subjects covered included Investigations, Patrol Procedures, Traffic, K-9, Bullying and Drugs. At the end of each subject the students took a test that was followed by a final exam on the last day. There were demonstrations that included class participation and role playing. The children got to meet K-9 Jony as well as watch him in action. On the last day the students competed in an obstacle course, received a certificate of achievement, took a class photo and enjoyed cake or cookies followed with a surprise visit from a local ice cream truck.
Almost 34 years ago was the last time the Melrose Police had a Junior Police program. That program which began in 1969 ended in the early 1980’s. Back then the program was run by Melrose Police Officer Arthur Brewster and it was a little different than our 2014 academy program. The children would attend regular meetings and were often seen marching in parades carrying a flag or a Melrose Junior Police Banner. That same banner carried years ago was used in this summer’s 2014 class pictures. This year’s summer program was a great success graduating approximately 48 students over the two weeks. It was a lot of fun for the students, volunteers and instructors.
That success was made possible with the assistance of many of the City of Melrose Agencies and local businesses. We would like to thank all of the following who’s contributions helped with the success of this new program: Mayor Dolan and his assistant Mike Lindstrom, School Superintendent Taymore, Principals Brow and Conway, Mr. Cronin and Mr. O’Hare of the Melrose School Department, Rebecca Mooney and her staff with The Melrose Alliance against Violence, Director Jen Kelly and the Melrose Substance Abuse Coalition, Scott and Stephen Longmuir of Stephen’s Auto body and Towing, Scott Drago and South Pole Slush, Whole Foods, Rite Aid, Shaw’s Supermarket, C.V.S., Vicki and D’ Amici’s Bakery and the T Stop in Wakefield.
Chief Michael Lyle and the Melrose Police Department hope to continue this program. Based upon the success and overwhelming positive feedback from the 2014 Academy attendees they would like to expand and build upon the program to continue developing positive relationships with the children of Melrose through the Junior Police Academy.