Ten students who have taken part in this year’s Junior Police Academy gathered Thursday to learn how to properly administer CPR.
This is the seventh year that the program has been held and usually is filled with around20 students.
This year, with only 10 students participating, marks the smallest class in the program’s seven years, said officerRob Reyngoudt, the school resource officer for the ciy school district.
Reyngoudt is the officer in charge of the program, which kicked off July 25.
The program allows students in ninth through 12th grades to experience what police officers have to go through in the academy, only on a smaller scale, Reyngoudt said.
During the course of the two-week program, cadets have experienced physical training, guest speakers from city, county, state and federal law enforcement; field trips to the county jail, county courthouse, Syracuse Police Academy; new this year, a “use of force” simulator and a Taser demonstration.
On Thursday, beginning at10 a.m., cadets began a CPR class that results in certification.
The class is led by the city fire department. Matt VanHeusen, an American Heart Association CPR instructor and member of the city fire department, taught this year’s class. “This is my first year doing this, but the fire department has done it previously,” VanHeusen said.
Kyle Redman, a senior at Tully High School and volunteer member with Tully Fire Department, was also present at the class.
“This is technically my third year here,” Redman said. Redman’s first two years with the program was as a cadet.
“One of the things it (the program) does is empower you in a way,” Redman said. “It makes me think I can do more if I put my mind to it.”
During the session, cadets watched videos demonstrating what to do while performing CPR and then they moved to the mannequins.
“Remember, the first thing to do is check for hazards and ask the person if they’re OK,” VanHeusen said.
Cadets were then instructed to do 30 chest compressions on the mannequins. “I hope I don’t mess this up,” said Mark Foster, of Cortland, about what he was thinking while practicing on the dummy. Foster is a first-year student with the program.
Even though the cadets were working with mannequins, one cadet saw it as a possible real situation. “I could hurt him,” said Johnny Sanford, of Cortland, another first-year cadet.
“Having the training going into a situation like this takes away a little of the shock,” Redman said.
Once the cadets finished with the compression training they moved on to the breathing part of CPR.
Each student was given a CPR barrier to separate contact from their lips and the victims’. By using the barrier, cadets can safely blow air into the dummies.
“It’s kind of weird (blowing air into a mannequin),” said Jonathan Alteri, of Cortland, a first-year cadet.
“No, it’s very weird breathing into plastic,” interrupted Robert Brotherton, of Dryden, another first-year cadet.
At the end of the day’s training, if the cadets pass the test, then they walk away with CPR certification, VanHeusen said.
The cadets finish the two-week academy today with graduation, starting at 2 p.m.
“My ultimate goal is not to make kids want to become police officers, but to challenge them and make them better citizens,” Reyngoudt said. “This program helps bridge the gap between kids and law enforcement.”