Program offers pathway to law enforcement
Posted on 01/29/2021
Five men stand side by side and smile for the camera

In an effort to build a police force that looks like the community it serves, Jones and Lake Nona high schools will offer a Junior Reserve Law Enforcement Program beginning August 2021. 

This academy will provide hands-on, meaningful learning related to law enforcement careers, such as a police officer, forensic scientist, informational technology technician and a crime scene investigator. The program intends to develop leadership skills, build character, and create informed, caring and responsible citizens who are physically, mentally and morally fit. 

Students will take four criminal justice courses in high school and have the opportunity to earn the 911 Communications Center Certification. This certification qualifies the student to work in a law enforcement communication center in college. Not only does this job pay above minimum wage, but it could be an entry level position to a promising career.

Plus, the high school students can earn Career Pathways and/or dual enrollment credits in Valencia College’s School of Public Safety. They can use these credits to earn a Criminal Justice Associate of Science degree and then seek employment with the Orlando Police Department or other law enforcement agencies. 

“The idea that we can encourage and inspire our youth to choose law enforcement as their path; that we can inspire the best, those with the highest moral conscience, those with the highest ethics; those that come from our neighborhoods, who know us, who understand us, who are us; to be the ones who protect us tomorrow -- is an opportunity unlike any other we have chosen. It’s an opportunity to see social justice come to reality here in Orange County,” School Board Chair Teresa Jacobs said.

This is a collaboration between OCPS, Valencia College School of Public Safety, Orlando Police Department and Orlando Regional Realtor Foundation. The partners believe the specialized coursework, mentoring and field trips will provide students with a comprehensive knowledge of law enforcement.

Currently, close to 300 students are interested in participating in the inaugural year of the program.