11 keiki graduate from Police Youth Academy on Lanai

Eleven children on Lanai graduated from the Police Youth Academy today.
Published: Jun. 30, 2023 at 5:49 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 30, 2023 at 6:30 PM HST
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LANAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Eleven children graduated from the Police Youth Academy on Lanai on Friday.

MPD officials say the goal is to get youth excited about a career in law enforcement from an early age.

“Our goal is to try to give them a perspective of the Maui Police Department that they might not have had prior to taking the course,” said Matthew Segault, who will be the School Resource Officer at Lanai High and Elementary School come August 1st.

On Wednesday, the 10- to 17-year-olds took the field at Maui Paintball in Olowalu.

Segault said it a fun, but also an important lesson.

“It’s a good team-building event because it’s team versus team. We also integrated in firearm safety as well,” he said. “So, they learn about muzzle awareness, where their hands are on the trigger guard.”

The Police Youth Academy on Lanai is currently in its third year.

Class leader Zana Bolo, 13, has participated two years in a row.

“It was really fun just doing all the different courses and just being able to work with the police officers,” said the incoming eighth grader at Lanai High and Elementary School.

Other lessons throughout the week included investigating crime scenes, police arrest and defense tactics, CPR, fitness, and higher education tips.

“We’re going to give them tools that potentially could help them later on in leadership and teamwork, physical fitness, academics, all those things that might help them out in the future,” Segault said.

They even get a crash course in impaired driving by using goggles that simulate being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“I think all kids should join this program. It’s really fun and it gives them good experience and gives them a new perspective on the police officers,” Bolo said.

There are currently 103 open positions for sworn personnel within the department, 50 positions open for non-sworn personnel. A total vacancy rate of 28%.

MPD officials say Police Youth Academy is a long-term strategy to help fill that gap.

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