Some students in Raytown already know what they want to be when they grow up. They live for the sounds of sirens, the rush of an ambulance and they want to help people.
These students want to go into law enforcement and that's what they’re learning at Herndon Career Center.
On Thursday they got a unique look into a simulated situation, as police officers, prosecutors, even the news media. Some students even acted like they were involved in the accident.
— Belinda Post (@Belinda_Post) February 24, 2017
The scenario was happening in Herndon, a suburb of a metropolis city, on Homecoming night. A queen candidate and her mother were hit and killed by a drunk driver on the highway. They happen to be the wife and daughter of a council member. The students were handling every piece of the mock investigation.
The back story is the drunk driver has two previous DWI convictions. The prosecutor’s office, behind closed doors, has been accused of taking a weak stance against DWI arrests.
Students had practice being a public information officer, who releases information to the news stations to help keep the public informed.
"For a long time we couldn't release anything more than that this incident was a supposed drunk driver who had a head-on collision at an intersection. They wanted to know if anyone was killed or anything, but we couldn't release that information at that time,” explained Breez Salisbury, a junior at Raytown High.
Highway patrol troopers, Raytown police officers, an FBI agent and the prosecutor were all at the incident helping to guide students along the way.
"That's an important thing we've been trying to encourage is to be honest with the media and the citizens. If there's an answer we don't know, then we will tell them we don't know and we will try to find out for them,” explained Shawn Didde with the Raytown Police Department.
The students are from several different schools including Hickman Mills, Center, Grandview, Independence, Kansas City and Lee's Summit, in addition to host Raytown. They all take a law enforcement science class that is taught at Herndon, while their credit towards graduation comes from their individual school.
"It gives you a step up when you're trying to get a job or something. You can say, I have this experience, I did this in my law enforcement class I went to," explained Salisbury, who was wearing a Missouri state trooper coat at the time.
Salisbury wants to go into forensics and analyze DNA as a career in law enforcement.
"It makes me feel good to see these kids. They come in here and say law enforcement seems interesting. By the end of the school year they're saying I want to be a highway patrol trooper, FBI agent, or I want to be a Kansas City police man,” explained Jim Ripley, retired police officer and the teacher of their law enforcement class.
Ripley said he had been planning this event since the fall.