JAMESTOWN – Students in the BOCES Criminal Justice program were able to get a taste of what police officers endure physically during a simulated obstacle course session Wednesday at the Firemen Grounds on Harrison Street.
WNYNewsNow spoke with Cassadaga Valley student Ty Pattyson, a senior who took part in the course that was taught by members of the Jamestown Police Department. He said the course was rather challenging physically.
“Running through it, it’s high intensity, bloods flowing and people are chanting you on,” Pattyson said. “That’s what really counts. Having people behind you and pushing you to the limits.”
Pattyson said that he first became interested in joining law enforcement after multiple family members previously served in the field.
Jennie Alessi, Criminal Justice teacher at BOCES LoGuidice, said that students are shown all different types of law enforcement in the criminal justice program. Alessi said the program typically starts in April and ends in June.
Alessi said that many of the kids don’t know each other when the program first begins.
“(The kids) learn what tolerance is, they learn what compassion is, they learn what teamwork is,” Alessi said. “….just like in police work, military, any criminal justice, you have to have teamwork, you have to work together, you have to be tolerant of each other, you have to recognize your strengths and your weaknesses and pick up where your partner or partners may not be so strong.”
“We try to replicate the police academy as much as possible.”
Chief Harry Snellings said his department has participated since the program’s inception five years ago. Snellings said other officials, including Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone and Commissioner of Social Services/Public Health Director Christine Schuyler, have participated in the program.
“A lot of these kids are required to do an internship for graduation, and they struggle to find internships with other law enforcement agencies,” Snellings said. “It’s a controlled environment. We present different classes on law enforcement, and it’s turned out to be a better program for them.”
Snellings said that a total of 34 students participated this year.
Detective Dave Kianos and Sergeant Sam Piazza led the police bicycle courses, while Officer Jay Wadsworth and Sergeant Adam McKinley oversaw the obstacle courses.
Multimedia Journalist Justin Gould contributed to this report.