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Close-up look at law

BURBANK — Trevore Jones has always thought about becoming a police officer, and since he’s been taking a law-enforcement class, his interest is even greater.

“I’ve learned a lot about what they do and how they help the community and it’s helped me want to become a police officer more, knowing what they do,” the 17-year-old said.

Trevore is one of about 18 students enrolled in Burbank Unified School District’s Regional Occupational Programs (ROP) class on law enforcement.

The class is being offered for the first time in years, said Cindi Mercer, the district’s Regional Occupational Programs career counselor.

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“We didn’t have anything for a long time and we are getting back at it,” Mercer said. “We are very excited about the whole thing.”

Students who are 16 or older and have a 2.0 grade-point average or higher can enroll in the class and learn about the law-enforcement career options that are available to them, Mercer said.

The class will be offered for two semesters, she said.

“The students are really excited about it, because it’s a comprehensive overview of the careers that law enforcement can lead to,” said Sue Boegh, director of educational support services.

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Students learn about the history of law enforcement, which includes the study of the state and federal agencies, Boegh said.

They explore careers available to them through the Department of Corrections, criminology, toxicology and occupations in the criminal-justice system, she added.

Burbank Police Officer Peter Eirich teaches the class twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Burroughs High School.

“Because it’s an ROP class, I’m focusing on them to prepare them to become successful applicants for any law-enforcement careers they may want to pursue,” Eirich said.

For 17-year-old Robert Edwards, the class has offered him a broad spectrum of careers that he may want to pursue after high school.

Robert, whose interest is in the police force, is also looking into forensic science as a career.

“With forensics, I won’t have to be on the field and it’s safer,” Robert said. “You need a lot of college and need medical training, but I think it’s worth it, though.”

The course offers more than just lectures and discussions. Students participate in hands-on projects where they take part in field work and observation, Eyrich said.

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Students recently took to the streets to observe how motorists are driving.

“We got to go outside and we got to count how many people broke the law,” Robert said.

They took tallies of how many people didn’t stop for a right-hand turn and looked to see how many had no seat belts, he added.

The class also recently visited the Burbank Police Department headquarters and met with police personnel to learn about the day-to-day operations of a police station, Eyrich said.

“We are hoping this is inspiring students to get more information about their community and be knowledgeable about what’s going on,” Mercer said.

“This is a beginning of a career path; it doesn’t necessarily have to be in police work.”


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