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By Bianca Peters

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — For the past 6 months CBS4’s Bianca Peters has been mentoring a group of junior girls from Miami Carol City High. She meets with them just about every week and they come up with ways to help them figure out what they want to do as a career by jumping into it early on. Two of the girls, Ailen Ruiz and Trellany Baxter want to be homicide detectives so they started from square one; police training.

With help from Miami-Dade Police Training bureau, the three of them got the full experience of what it takes to make it through training. Major Michael Dieppa, who heads the training bureau, took them through a few classrooms where the girls were able to ask the trainees questions and get a closer look at what happens behind closed doors.

The program, according to Major Dieppa, is about a 9-month process but it is different from most programs because trainees are paid. But it’s not just about the money.

“We don’t train anyone here to be trainees. Everybody here is trained to be a police officer so when they graduate they are ready to put on the silver badge and go to work,” explained Major Dieppa.

Even though the mentees are only juniors in high school, the dedication in their eyes lights up within five minutes of being on the training bureau campus.

Ailen Ruiz, who wants to work in the Special Victims Unit, received some encouragement when talking to a few of the trainees in the class.

“I could relate to one of the police trainees because she said she wanted to be a homicide detective because she wants to bring peace to the families that are hurting and that’s what I would like to do too,” said Ruiz.

The group is held to the same standard as the trainees when it comes to the physical aspects. Fifty push-ups at any given time, although they really only completed about 10. The academy obstacle course was a challenge for Bianca and the girls, but they managed to get through most of it, with some teamwork of course!

Things become tenser when the group was put into the simulator with hand guns that kicked back when fired (without bullets). The girls were placed in a few scenarios where deadly force was a viable option. Even though just a simulation, it opened their eyes to the quick thinking decisions that run through police officers minds each day.

At the end of the day, both Ruiz and Baxter were both chomping at the bit to get their law enforcement careers started.

“We know we want to be officers but we don’t get a chance to live a day in their shoes and see what they have to go through, see all the aspects and this. Thanks to everybody that works here they brought us in and helped us get a little glimpse of what they have to go through and it gives us a better understanding of the real world, like it prepares us for the real world.”

They have no doubt found a new appreciation for this career.

“I’ve only been here for half a day and it was a struggle so we have to thank them (police officers) for that because they have to go through all of this to protect us and they don’t really ask for nothing back,” said Ruiz.

Major Dieppa was impressed with the students.

“They show qualities of somebody who would be successful as a police officer if they wanted to and we are excited to give them an opportunity and hope that they come out and join us when they get a little older,” said Major Dieppa.

Mentoring opened the door to the police academy experience and for someone like Ruiz that is priceless.

“I think it’s very important to have a mentor ‘cause in schools you have your guidance counselors, but they have to deal with everybody. They can’t really focus on you 100% and to have a mentor like you, it’s pretty amazing ‘cause someone can actually just focus on just us and they can like give advice, they can give us details and give us these types of experiences.”

If you would like to get involved with mentoring you can check out http://www.takestockinchildren.org/ where they can pair you with a mentee and provide a fun and easy introduction into mentoring.

If you are a mentor and would like to share your story with us, please email us at mentoringmatters@cbs.com.

Click here for more Mentoring Matters.

 

 

 

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