Nassau County

New Nassau County teen program hopes to recruit new generation of law enforcement

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. — There’s a new program that the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office is launching.

It’s called the Sheriff’s Teen Citizens Academy.

“The purpose of the teen academy is to get young people exposed to law enforcement and to get a better understanding of what we do and how we keep the community safe,” Sheriff Bill Leeper said.

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The program allows teens to get up close and personal and see what it’s like to work for the sheriff’s office.

It’s geared towards teens ages 12 to 18 and it shows them what it’s like to be a deputy or work with the K-9 unit or the marine unit.

They’ll even take you inside the jail so you can see exactly what a corrections officer does.

Leeper has spent nearly 44 years in law enforcement and he knows the ins and outs of the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office.

The goal is to give young people a behind the scenes look at what goes on inside the sheriff’s office and help bridge the gap between police officers and the community.

“There’s a narrative going around our country that police are bad and we’re not we’re here to keep our community safe and do good things for our citizens,” Leeper said.

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Meeting with the motorcycle unit, the patrol division and looking inside the cars to understanding all the equipment, are just some of things these teens will get hands-on experience with.

“Law enforcement, corrections, we have dispatch, we have civilian employees, so there’s many areas if you don’t want to just be a police officer,” he said.

The sheriff says hopefully this experience will inspire the next generation to consider this type of job.

“It’s getting harder and harder with what’s going around on country for young people to want to go into law enforcement and that’s why it’s important that we engage our citizens of all ages, but particularly young people,” Leeper said.

It’s a decision he made decades ago that he says he wouldn’t change.

“If had to go back and do it all over again, I’d do the same thing,” Leeper said.

The sheriff’s teen citizens academy is free and there’s still space available to sign up.

Applications are due on Friday. For more information on signing up click here.

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