Wilmington Police Department, Wilmington Fire Department Announce 2023 Youth Public Safety Academy

The free, two-week program organized by police and fire officials seeks to introduce youth to the public safety profession and build relationships

Youth Public Safety Academy
Youth Public Safety Academy

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki, Chief of Police Wilfredo Campos and Chief of Fire John Looney today announced the opening of the application process for this summer’s Youth Public Safety Academy, which will be held from Monday, June 19 through Friday, June 30, with the support of JPMorgan Chase.The 2023 Youth Public Safety Academy is a two-week program for young people between the ages of 13 and 17. The academy will be held Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is a FREE program which also includes breakfast and lunch for participants. Class size is limited, so apply today by visiting WilmingtonDE.gov/YouthAcademy. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on May 29. This year’s program will build on the success of the WPD Youth Police Academy in past years, through including members of the Wilmington Fire Department to develop a joint academy. The goal of the Youth Public Safety Academy is to strengthen relationships between our City’s public safety professionals and the people and communities they serve, while providing Wilmington’s young people with a better understanding of the challenges and responsibilities of the work of police officers and firefighters. “We are excited to organize this opportunity for youth in our community to meet and learn from our first responders,” said Chief Campos. “Organizing this joint academy will continue to build on the relationships we have with the community, and will help afford youth insights into public safety career opportunities and public service.” Since 2011, Chief Looney has been directly involved with the Wilmington Fire Department’s Explorer Post 100, which provides young people the opportunity to learn about and develop skills for a career in firefighting. He expressed the excitement of the department to partner with WPD to launch this new joint academy to reach more youth.  “Providing the opportunity to young people to learn about alternate career paths in public safety is a vital tool to shaping our City’s future,” said Chief Looney. “Through our explorers program, we have seen the positive impact it has had in helping teenagers develop their sense of belonging and instill pride in public service, and we look forward to extending that reach through the Youth Public Safety Academy.” Participants will attend a mock police and fire academy involving role-playing, teambuilding exercises, hands-on activities, presentations, and field trips. In addition, there will also be a physical training component. The curriculum features a range of topics, including conflict resolution, fingerprinting, crime scene investigation, fire safety, drug awareness, traffic and criminal law, building searches, K9 Unit operations, explosive and bomb investigations, physical agility training (push-ups, sit-ups, light calisthenics), first aid, gang awareness, a discussion about the juvenile justice system, arson investigations, report writing and internet safety. “I continue to be encouraged by the many young people in Wilmington who aspire to a career in public service as a first responder,” said Mayor Purzycki. “We have an outstanding police department and an outstanding fire department,” the Mayor continued, “and the teenagers who participate in this combined Youth Public Safety Academy have much to learn from the fine men and women who are already committed to these noble professions. At the same time, this session is invaluable for our officers and firefighters to learn more about how young people think and about how they interpret issues and circumstances related to safety.” The Mayor thanked Chief Campos and Chief Looney and their teams for organizing and implementing this joint effort. He also expressed his hope that young people in the City will take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn more about what it means to be a first responder in Wilmington, including the challenges and risks a career in public safety present as well as the many rewards it can offer. This year’s academy is being presented with assistance from JPMorgan Chase, which provided support for last summer’s Youth Police Academy. Mayor Purzycki, Chief Campos and Chief Looney today thanked JPMorgan Chase for its continuing commitment to Wilmington and the residents and businesses of Delaware’s largest City. “At JPMorgan Chase we are proud to support both the WPD and the WFD. The Youth Public Safety Academy offers our city’s youth a hands-on opportunity to engage with first responders and learn the important role they play in our community,” said Don Mell, Site Lead for the Delaware market for Chase.