CHAMPION, Ohio (WKBN) — A new program is coming to Kent State University Trumbull this year, designed for students interested in pursuing careers in the justice field.

The university is offering the Youth Police Academy Experience (YPAE) this fall and next spring to high school seniors. Students who complete this program are each eligible to receive a $1,000 scholarship to attend Kent State Trumbull in the Fall of 2024. 

Lecturer Lori Singer-Bare of the Criminology and Justice Studies program and Peace Officer Training Academy hopes local students take advantage of the program to explore the diverse career opportunities in the justice system.

“We carefully put together this program to give students a well-rounded experience. Our campus is fortunate to have access to great instructors with valuable years of experience,” she said.

Because of staffing shortages around the state, Singer-Bare said it is vital that police academies be more intentional when recruiting new learners.

“Public safety is a concern for everyone,” she said. “This is a great time to get into an academy and start a career because there are so many opportunities locally and around the state.”

According to Ideastream Public Media, officer staffing levels decreased by 3.48% from 2020 to 2021 and resignations have increased by 42.7% since 2019. 

The four-week program begins Oct. 3 and will be held  9:30-11:30 a.m. every Tuesday. The final session on Oct. 24 will include an extra hour to celebrate the students with lunch and a scholarship ceremony. The spring program will follow the same schedule and begins Tuesday, Feb. 27. 

Students will engage in hands-on training, such as intoxicated driver detection and prevention; crime scene investigations; traffic stops and utilization of radar and lidar; and race relations and policing.

Each program is limited to 50 spots, so interested students are encouraged to enroll soon. To enroll, visit Kent State University’s website here. The deadline to apply is Sept. 4.