PARIS, TX -- School is in session this week at the inaugural Paris Junior Law Enforcement Academy.
Organizers say it gives local kids a behind the scenes look at not only the police department, but all first responders and the justice system.
"The better rapport we build with these folks, even at a young age, the better they understand that you're not going to have to fear the cops, the better relationship we're going to have down the line," said Police Chief Bob Hundley.
Twenty-four students signed up for the class, split between two sessions. Each day this week, students will meet at different places like the sheriff's office, the courthouse and the fire department to learn about their operations. Monday's first stop, the Paris Police Department.
"I'm trying to put in some more hands on; from the traffic stops, to the handcuffing, to what the guy on the street or the investigator will be doing," said Officer David Whitaker.
Officers hope the class will give students a better understanding of what police actually do.
"We do a service and it's not all about taking the bad guy to jail or running down the bad guy," said Whitaker. "Most of our job is working within the community to help to build a better community and neighborhoods throughout our city."
For student Kaitlyn Dority, helping others runs in the family. Her dad is a firefighter and her mom's a nurse.
"I've been interested in doing police work, FBI, anything to do with law enforcement for awhile," said Dority. "So I thought this would be perfect."
For more information, call 903-782-0447.