The Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) hosted 13 teenagers from the 2013 Junior Law Enforcement Academy recently. The teens ranged in age from 15-18 and have shown an interest in possibly making law enforcement a career. This is the fourth academy sponsored by the Anniston Police Department (APD) and the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department.

During the academy they were certified in CPR, learned traffic stop basics, visited the county jail, shooting range, and were given the opportunity to fire a weapon; however, this was the first instance where the students visited the CDP as part of the week-long academy.

"It was very impressive and realistic," said Sergeant Curtis McCants, a 21-year veteran of the APD, who works closely with local schools and community relations. "The CDP is an impressive facility and the practical, hands-on exercises demonstrate how serious law enforcement can be. It gives you a good idea of how events will be on the ground if we were in some type of environment where this training is needed."

CDP staff members provided instruction regarding a possible active shooter scenario in a school, how to preserve and collect evidence, and triage survivors in a mass casualty event. The teens trained in the CDP’s newer venues that resemble real-life living and work facilities, including a simulated subway system, where Human Patient Simulators served as their survivors, and a warehouse that has been designed as a street scene including a paved road, shops and a subway entrance.

"We talked about the possibility of active shooters in their schools, indicators they can look for, and discussed ways to survive," said Gary Pippin, CDP lead instructor for law enforcement. "This training puts to use other training they received earlier in the week, such as first aid and CPR. They [also responded to a crime scene where they] assessed survivors and collected evidence just like actual law enforcement."

"It was all impressive, but I liked the fact active shooter training was focused on children," said McCants. "Most active shooter training teaches administrators, teachers, and other adults. This was geared towards the student, what they should look for and how they can react if it happens in their school. I thought that was impressive."

"I think [the CDP] is a valuable learning resource for anyone interested in law enforcement," said Eric Brown, a 16-year-old high school junior from Weaver, Ala. "I was really amazed and found it hard to believe this facility is in our hometown. It was an awesome sight to see and anyone who has the chance to train here is lucky."

The academy has graduated 50 students in the past four years. Support for the program is made possible through contributions from the community and costs the students nothing. The donations cover the costs of meals, necessary equipment, and the academy T-shirt the participants wear.

CDP training focuses on incident management, mass casualty response, and emergency response to catastrophic natural disasters or terrorist acts. CDP training for state, local, and tribal responders is fully funded by the Department of Homeland Security.

For more information about CDP training, visit http://cdp.dhs.gov or call 1-866-213-9553, and visit www.facebook.com/cdpfema.