Monday’s council meeting started on a cheerful note, as two members of the Warwick Police Department Post 327 Cadet Explorer Program were awarded certificates for their participation in the Learning for Life camp held in West Hartford, Connecticut last summer.
The program, which has been in existence for more than 40 years in Warwick, encourages youth aged 14 to 20 to develop discipline, responsibility and character, while giving them an opportunity to experience what it’s like to be a police officer. In 2011, they performed 136 hours of community service within the city.
More than 400 New England participants competed in the event, which consisted of four levels or phases, including basic training and boot camp; advanced basic training and boot camp; serving as a mock police officer; and career development.
Seven participants were from the Warwick program, such as Adonis Martinez, 20, of Cranston, who took home two awards, including physical fitness and leadership excellence, and Amber Lorenz, 18, of West Warwick, who earned the director’s award.
Martinez said the best part of the program is learning leadership, teamwork, and helping the community.
“It makes me feel very good because I want to be a police officer,” said Martinez, who has been in the program for two years and is studying Criminal Justice at Roger Williams.
Lorenz, a senior at West Warwick High School, has been involved for three years. She said while she enjoys the program, she has different plans for the future.
“Right now, I kind of want to go to school for culinary,” Lorenz said. “But, I like the program because you can figure out what the job is like in real life. It’s pretty awesome.”
During the presentation, Ward 6 Councilwoman Donna Travis, who serves as the vice chair for the programs board of directors, said Martinez and Lorenz represented Warwick well. In an interview, she expressed her feelings further.
“We always hear the negative things kids are doing but this shows the good side,” said Travis. “It’s nice seeing them grow in fine young men and women. Quite a few of them go on to be police officers, even in other cities. I’m very proud of them.”
In attendance at the meeting were Joseph Silvia, the chairperson of the board, Officer James Michailides, one of the advisors, as well as Col. Stephen McCartney. He believes the cadets are assets to Warwick.
“They do a lot of great work and to recognize these two fine young people is absolutely phenomenal,” he said in an interview. “I can’t say enough about Councilwoman Travis going out of her way to see that these cadets receive a proclamation from the City Council.”