Students take shot at police work

Beth Wilberding

Brandon Humphries lined up his shot on Tuesday at the blue paper silhouette of a man that was posted yards away.

A range officer helped him maneuver into a shooting stance. His finger, wrapped around the trigger of the Smith & Wesson .40 caliber pistol, pulled back.

The bullet tore through the silhouette’s upper body and torso.

“It was exciting,” said Humphries, a Campbellsville freshman. “They told me I did pretty good other than shooting off to the right.”

Humphries continued to take shots at both silhouette and reactive targets as one of his lessons in campus police’s civilian police academy.

Campus police are hosting the eight-week program to help students, faculty and staff learn more about what law enforcement officers do.

The class has been meeting since Feb. 10 and has 14 participants this year. This is the second year campus police have held the program.

The program is free for participants. Campus police Sgt. Joe Harbaugh estimated that the program will cost $1,500.

Harbaugh said the goal of the academy is to help students understand what it’s like on the streets for police.

“We let them come out and see what officers really do,” he said.

Another goal is for campus police to build better rapport with students, Harbaugh said.

The participants have done more than shoot guns – they have had classes on police procedures, toured Warren County Regional Jail and have done mock traffic stops.

Students took the role of police officer during the traffic stop exercise, Shelbyville junior Elizabeth McKinley said. They took to the streets and pulled campus police officers portraying reckless drivers.

“I had never had the opportunity to do a mock traffic stop,” she said.

The exhilaration that can come from a traffic stop is just one aspect Drakesboro sophomore Josh Toomey enjoys about his prospective career.

“I’ve wanted to be in law enforcement since I was 10,” he said. “I’m trying to do everything I can to gain knowledge.”

Many of the other police academy participants also want to go into law enforcement.

Dawson Springs freshman Tyler Allen never wanted to be a police officer growing up, but he decided to join the academy because he has “always been curious as to what police officers do.”

But now that he’s been through the academy, Allen sees law enforcement as a possible career move.

“I didn’t at first, but now that I’ve been through it, I’m becoming more curious about it,” Allen said. “I’m actually considering it.”

Reach Beth Wilberding at [email protected]