Jena Doak, [email protected]
October 28, 2021 — National Police Week was October 13-17, wherein seniors from Rock Springs High School Fire, Law, and Leadership Academy (FLLA) put up blue lights outside the homes of residents who wanted to show solidarity with local law enforcement officers.
On Wednesday, October 27, FLLA students met with Commander Kelsar, Chief Pacheco, and Officer Hager at Rock Springs High School to celebrate the results of National Police Week. The FLLA students delivered over 190 blue light bulbs to over 130 residents of Sweetwater County.
“I often tell the students that in this country, we sleep well at night because of police, fire, armed forces, dispatch and first responders. We do appreciate it because there are a lot of people in the world who don’t sleep well at night,” Rock Springs High School FLLA Director John Cundall said. “They don’t know what the darkness at night is going to bring.”
The FLLA program started at RSHS seven years ago. It wouldn’t be what it is today if not for some of the teachers collaborating with Cundall to instruct special classes students in the FLLA need to complete the program. Sophomores have four classes that they go through together. Juniors and seniors have three.
English classes equip the Academy for writing incident reports, should they choose careers in law enforcement. FLLA students take forensics classes instead of other science classes. Their social science classes instruct them in America’s founding documents, such as The Constitution of the United States.
“We appreciate what you do, and we hope to see future law enforcement, fire, and first responders, as we have seen already,” Rock Springs Chief of Police, Dwayne Pacheco, said to the students. “We’ve seen the fruits of Mr. Cundall’s efforts.”
Some of the former graduates of FLLA who have transitioned into fire, law, and corrections have experienced natural disasters in this nation and across the world.
“We feel good about when they leave and where they depart to,” Cundall said. “It’s a big world out there.”
Students join the FLLA for different reasons.
Levi Crichton joined because he has friends in law enforcement, as well as family members in the military.
“It’s always intrigued me. It’s been a part of my life, so I want to be a part of it, myself,” Crichton said.
Lacey Chase wants to know what law enforcement officers do in order to aid her in understand the ongoing controversy surrounding police.
Levi Tyhurst wants to be a wildland firefighter when he graduates.
Hailee Brough has always wanted to be an FBI profiler.
“I have such a passion for it,” Brough said. Her passion will require seven years of higher education, and five years of training. “When I heard about the Blue Light Project, I was excited to help, and took as many lights as I could, everywhere.”
Police officers have their own reasons for choosing their careers. Rock Springs High School Resource Officer Aaron Hager wants to give back all of the help he received from the community when he was young.
“One of the reasons I wanted to be a School Resource Officer is to help mold the future,” Hager said. “The students are tenacious, hard workers, and want to do great things. If I can help, I want to help.”
Rock Springs is a community that supports and loves law enforcement officers. A lot of other communities don’t share these attitudes, which makes it tough for constituents and law enforcement, alike.
Clearly, the FLLA students are exceptional young people. By the things they say and their regimented studies, they inarguably are society’s emerging, brave heroes. Talking about law enforcement, Cundall said, “Instead of running away from terror, they walk toward it.”
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