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Seventh- and eighth-grade applicants sought for Buffalo Youth Police Academy on March 21

A call for applications from seventh- and eighth-graders for the 20th annual Buffalo Youth Police Academy later this month has been issued by organizers.

The one-day academy is scheduled for March 21 in the West Side Community Center.

The academy, which is free and includes lunch, is designed to provide middle school students with the chance to interact with law enforcement and other experts on topics including drug and alcohol prevention, drug court, school and bus safety, gang avoidance and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Students also will hear from members of Buffalo Police Explorer Post 102 on how to become a member and participate in positive activities.

Healthy lifestyle tips will be interwoven throughout the day as speakers stress the need for youth to choose and maintain healthy behaviors, organizers said. Each attendee will be issued a community service certificate signed by Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda.

In addition, students will be able to examine police equipment from special police units, including the SWAT and Underwater Recovery teams, the K-9 Unit and the Erie County sheriff’s Bomb Squad truck, and other police vehicles.

Applications have already been sent to principals at public, charter and private schools in the city and the first 100 applications received will be accepted.

The Youth Police Academy is supported by the Buffalo Police Department, the West Side Community Center, Explorer Post 102, and the West Side Youth Development Coalition. Other supporters include the Center for Health and Social Research at SUNY Buffalo State, the Board of Block Clubs of Buffalo & Erie County, and Rich Products.

For information, contact the Buffalo Police Academy at 851-4523.