Port Barre Police Department is trying to help direct the paths of their local youth with a special mentoring program.
This week marks the 5th annual Port Barre Police Department Youth Mentoring program.
“It makes me feel like we’re doing more than just law enforcement.”
Chief Deon Boudreaux believes police work goes beyond the patrol car and this mentorship program is just the start.
“Especially in a small town police department we gotta be more than just writing tickets and putting people in jail. We have to be community oriented. I feel this way we can do it,” says Chief Boudreaux.
While Chief Boudreaux has seen junior police programs he wanted to face the truth: not everyone wants to be a police officer when they grow up. “But we can utilize our police officers to give them the tools to do what they want to do. In fact, one of our mottos is what do you want to be and the answer is whatever I want to be so we teach them that give them the goals in life to move forward as a productive person.”
So for a week kids ages 9 to 17 learn something new every day. The week includes boat safety, anti-bullying, drug awareness, even CPR training.
Monday was all about bike and pedestrian safety.
Kaycee Legg is 12 years old and has been part of the program for years now. She says, “I don’t know many places that are going to teach kids our age CPR because most people think ‘Oh kids, some kids they’re not old enough to understand this stuff yet’ but we have 8 and 9 year-olds that understand CPR and are able to help people because of it.”
It may sound simple, but it is changing and saving lives.
Chief Boudreaux says, “We had a young man that learned CPR here and that following year his younger sister had a cardiac arrest and he actually saved her life by performing CPR so it really helps.”
The program is giving 68 local kids the confidence they didn’t know they needed.
Legg says, “I think they take us seriously because we are the future so we actually mean something to somebody somewhere.”