The second-ever Latrobe Lifeskills X Whittlesea Police Academy took place in mid-February and it was bigger and better than ever!
Lifeskills participant Ben spent the day with Inspector Chris Allen and his team, who treated Ben to a behind-the-scenes look at the Police Airwing and Crime Scenes Services, and was visited by police dog Devil.
We caught up with Ben to talk about his highlights and why he feels the program is a great opportunity for Lifeskills participants:
“Before the day began I was excited to attend the police academy. I was excited to see the helicopter. I wasn’t nervous to meet the police officers. I had met Chris Allen before, so I wasn’t nervous at all. I was really looking forward to having lunch with the police officers.
I enjoyed being deputised and wearing the police cap all day. I went on patrol at the shopping centre, I saw people having breakfast and going shopping. I felt like I was part of the team I didn’t see anything suspicious and everything felt normal and very good.
I really enjoyed being offered the blackberries and having the police buy me a cookie and orange juice.
We headed to the Victoria Police Airwing and met Hayden. Hayden asked us to follow him outside and we heard a helicopter making noise.
Then we inside and looked around and saw the control room. We could hear people talking over the police radio. Hayden told us the helicopter on screen was over Clayton.
After that, he showed us the hanger and we each received ear protection and went outside the to the tarmac. We saw a helicopter landing, and it was super loud. We put earmuffs on to protect our ears. Hayden explained how it takes a long time to turn the helicopter engine off. The petrol truck came out so the helicopter could get more fuel. I could see the city of Melbourne in the background!
I hopped in the helicopter and Hayden explained how everything works with the iPad – it looked like a play station controller. I pretended to rescue someone, and Hayden showed me how to do it and how to use the equipment. When I got in the helicopter, I was too tall and nearly hit my head! We took some photos at the end.
We went and saw the helicopter simulator. We pretended to take off and Hayden asked me to point at where I wanted to go. We saw the pretend city and cars and then I took over the controls and turned right and left. I felt good because I knew it was pretend. It was the first time I have done this. When I was leaving, Hayden gave me model of a helicopter to put together.
I liked riding in the police car. I had to remind Dave to put the blinkers on! I was told that every time we go past an ambulance, we should wave. I saw an ambulance and waved, and they said hi to me.
After lunch, I met the police dog Devil he started barking and I got scared. Devil liked having his tummy rubbed. We went outside and watched Devil respond to commands.
Officers from Crime Scene Services told me about what they do. They used numbers with cones to show where evidence is. I put gloves on to dust for fingerprints. I found a fingerprint and I got one on a card to keep. I felt really happy doing this.
I got a special bag with a toy police car in it from the proactive policing unit. They explained to me what they do there, and I got a photo with them.
I felt happy and really excited to get a certificate.
I asked heaps of questions like how fast a police car can go. I pressed the police siren button. It was good to meet new police officers.
It would be good for participants to do the police academy in case they need to go up to a police officer in the future or in case they want to work with police. I feel comfortable talking to police now. I only spoke to police once before and thought I would say the wrong thing, so I was a bit scared. Now I like police.”