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School Offers Training for LAPD Career

September 02, 1996|DAVID E. BRADY

The thin blue line just got a little thicker.

Beginning Tuesday, a group of students at Monroe High School in North Hills will begin preparing for careers as junior Joe Fridays as part of a new Los Angeles Unified School District magnet program. The goal, organizers say, is to draw upon the rich diversity of Los Angeles' young people to staff the city's police force.

Created in partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department, the Police Academy magnet will also be part of the curriculum at Dorsey High School in Crenshaw and Wilson High School in El Sereno. The program is loosely modeled after a similar magnet created in 1990 at a Sacramento high school.

Joan Elam, Monroe's principal, said the program was created to better prepare potential police officers for the skills the job requires, skills that many LAPD recruits have been lacking.

"We are trying to beef up those areas and get young people ready at an early age," she said.

At Monroe, the program will become part of the school's law and government magnet. The four-year curriculum will include courses in forensic science, computers, physical fitness, civil and criminal law, crime scene photography and driving. Approximately 30 students, mostly ninth graders, will begin the program this year.

Funding for the magnet was made possible by a $250,000 donation from Woodland Hills-based 20th Century Insurance Co. The money will be used to purchase equipment and hire staff members.

Outside the classroom, students will work alongside police and security officers to learn firsthand the risks and responsibilities of law enforcement.

Magnet coordinator Lynda Schwarz said that students who successfully complete the program should easily pass the test required of all LAPD applicants.

"It's a school-to-work transition program," she said.

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