It may be summertime, but Landon Middle School is not sitting empty. It was the home of the Topeka Police Department Summer Camp, and about 30 students signed up to learn more about the work law enforcement officers do. TPD officers, along with Topeka Public Schools Police officers, took time to show the students some of the skills and equipment used to protect and serve the public.
We recently caught up with the campers to find about the new things they've been learning. When we arrived, officers from the motorcycle unit were on hand to show the kids their vehicles and describe what it means to patrol the streets of Topeka on two wheels.
After that, the students learned about DUI- or Driving Under the Influence- charges. They had the opportunity to perform field sobriety tests, like walking on a line and balancing on one foot, while wearing special goggles. The goggles greatly interfered with their depth perception, affecting their ability to balance and control their movements.
Then the students ventured outside where they got to drive golf carts—first without the goggles, then with the goggles. They drove the carts through a traffic cone obstacle course, in what was both an amusing and frightening display.
In addition to learning about police work, the campers also had the opportunity to play games and have fun with the officers. The officers also arranged for free lunches for the students each day of camp, including a cook out on the last day. Time spent making connections like these enhances relationships between local police and our young citizens.
Thank you to the officers from the Topeka Police Department and the TPS Police Department for providing this opportunity for our city’s youth!