Learning extends beyond the classroom walls
Posted on 10/20/2021
MaKirah Florence dressed in SWAT gear

More than 300 students at Jones and Lake Nona high schools are participating in a pilot Junior Reserve Law Enforcement Program. The program offers specialized coursework to provide students a well-rounded education on the various facets of law enforcement, as well as field trips and a mentoring program.

One of the field trips occurred at Jones HS Tuesday. Orlando Police Department’s District Youth Liaisons visited campus to showcase four divisions of the force that students may not have considered or know exist. Students had an opportunity to hear from and have hands-on interaction with a K-9 officer, mounted patrol, SWAT team members and motorcycle officers. 

“I really liked the SWAT area,” sophomore MaKirah Florence said after getting dressed in tactical gear and posing with a battering ram. 

Florence chose to enroll in the program because she has a passion for law enforcement and felt it was a natural extension of her involvement with the Orlando Police Explorers program. She also feels it will help her achieve her life goal of owning a private security company.

Cynthia Mills, Jones’ public service occupations teacher, served as an OPD officer for 23 years and is excited to be using her knowledge and skill sets acquired in that role to teach the next generation of officers. She believes “it is better for law enforcement when officers have a rapport with the community they serve,” which was a benefit of the meet and greet. 

The JRLEP is a collaboration between OCPS, Valencia College School of Public Safety, Orlando Police Department and Orlando Regional Realtor Foundation.

You can read the introductory story for more background information.