PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — What does it take to be a law enforcement officer? How hard is it to get through the police academy?

Those are just a couple of questions kids can get answers to at Allegheny County’s Camp Cadet program.

Has your son or daughter ever said they wanted to be a police officer when they grow up? Here’s their chance.

“You are in a group of people, but you are relying on yourself to go, ‘I gotta get up, I’ve got to go through all of this, I gotta learn the drill,’” said Sam Kiss, a Camp Cadet counselor. “You are making yourself feel amazing, and it feels so good. It makes you feel like you can do anything.”

This summer will be the 11th year of Allegheny County’s Camp Cadet.

“Most of it is about giving the kids an opportunity to see what a police officer, what law enforcement officers go through at the academy, kind of giving them a mini version of the police academy,” said Mike Spagnoletti, of Camp Cadet.

The application process opens today and runs through April 15. Interviews will happen in May, and 64 cadets will have a chance to go.

“When I became a counselor is when I looked at it and actually appreciated it,” said Kiss. “I am looking at these kids and saying, ‘everything they are saying to you is going to hit you in like three years. This actually means something.’ It was great watching the kids going through the same thing that I did.”

Camp Cadet on Pittsburgh Today Live:

The misconception is that it a boot camp for kids in trouble with the law — trying to scare them straight.

“They must be between the ages of 12 and 14, boy or girl, and they must be an Allegheny County resident,” said Spagnoletti. “They must be a good kid. They can’t be in trouble. They couldn’t have been arrested or anything like that, no convictions, not in trouble at school.”

“These police officers aren’t just police officers. They are my friends, my mentors,” added Kiss. “It’s great to get that view of everything. Police officers are just like everybody else. They just get to wear the cool badges.”

Who knows? Maybe someday, the graduates of Camp Cadet will wear a badge to work every day too.

For more information on Camp Cadet, visit: http://www.alleghenycountycampcadet.org/

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