The Youth Police Academy program is held during the latter part of July and is designed for young men and women between 12 and 16 years old.
Our program is among the finest of its type. To date, more than 200 kids have completed the program since it was launched in 2008.
Essentially, the YPA is a two-week condensed version of the actual police academy. The day begins with Marine Corps, police academy-trained, drill instructors. Recruits are then brought inside for the classroom portion. Throughout the two weeks, they will have presentations from some of the finest law enforcement organizations in the country including the Freehold Borough Police Department, the FBI, the DEA, the Secret Service, the Air Marshals, and many more.
At around noon, we bus them over to the Park Avenue School where we serve lunch.
After lunch, we hold our more hands-on activities including motor vehicle stops, ground fighting, mock search warrants, felony stops etc.
The day finishes with an hour of physical training by our New Jersey Police Training Commission certified PT instructor.
On the Thursday of the second week we have a barbeque where former recruits are welcomed back for a reunion.
And on the evening of the second Friday, we hold our graduation ceremony.
The graduation is a formal ceremony and is very impressive. It is designed to properly acknowledge the recruits for the incredible accomplishment of completing this program.
Currently, the program is run by DSgt. Andrew A. DeMuth Jr., Sgt. Ronnie R. Steppat Jr., Ptl. Kevin Werner, and Ptl. Shaun Hobbs.
For more information, please see our Frequently Asked Questions Below.
Frequently Asked Questions
How may I help the program?
When the YPA was first launched it was paid for with federal grants. After the economy collapsed, the grants disappeared. It is now up to the coordinators of the program to engage in various fundraising activities to keep it going. We welcome and encourage donations to help keep the YPA going.
How intense is the program?
The YPA is an extremely intense experience. There is little difference between how the drill instructors treat actual police recruits and our recruits with the exception of their colorful language. Otherwise, the volume and intensity is no different.
Is the age requirement flexible?
No. Kids must be between 12 and 16 at the time of the application deadline (usually in or around May) in order to participate in the YPA.
Is this similar to a boot camp program for children with disciplinary issues?
Absolutely not, and it would not work in that respect. In fact, we would not accept any kid who doesn't want to participate. Many of our kids go on to college and beyond.
My child is not interested in the law enforcement field.
No problem. In fact, our goal is not to sell them on law enforcement at all. We have had some kids develop an interest in law enforcement as a result of the program, but it makes absolutely no difference to us. The important thing is that they choose a field that makes them happy.
How intense is the physical training?
They are going to sweat. A lot. They will be pushed hard and are expected to give us their best. On the second Thursday, we hold The Miracle Mile which is a mile-long run right through the Freehold Borough downtown. There will be police cars with lights and siren in front and behind the group for safety, and officers wearing traffic vests will run along both sides.
We slowly build their endurance up during the first eight days of the program. We also suggest that in the weeks preceding the YPA they put down the X-Box and start light exercising to build up their cardio, of course,
Medical clearance forms are required prior to the program, and they must be signed by the child's physician.
Do I have to be a resident to apply?
No. Freehold Borough residents do get preference, but we usually have extra spots. We've had families bring their kids from as far away as Millstone and Monmouth Beach.
When do the applications come out, and how can I get one?
The applications are put out in the spring. It will be announced here, on theFBPD Facebook page, and on the Youth Police Academy Facebook page.
How long is the program?
The YPA runs for two solid weeks. Recruits must come every day. On the Friday of week 2, we have the graduation at the Freehold Borough High School which usually begins in the evening.
What are the hours?
Recruits have to report and be ready for inspection by 7:45 a.m. The drop-off location is our headquarters at 36 Jackson Street.
Pickup time is 4:45 p.m. at the Park Avenue School located at 280 Park Avenue, Freehold.
Does my child have to attend every day?
Yes. Again, we require that they attend every day and complete the entire day.
What about children with special needs?
Unfortunately, the program would be too intense for most special needs children. However, we would be glad to arrange a tour including visiting officers and detectives, seeing the jail cells, sitting in the patrol car, etc.
Is there a cost?
Through our fundraising efforts, we have been able to keep the program available at no cost.
Is lunch included?
Yes, and there is no cost. We rotate between pizza and subs. On the second Thursday we have a barbeque where all former recruits come for a reunion.
May my child bring his/her own lunch?
What about the uniforms. Is there a cost for them?
You keep asking about cost. There is no cost whatsoever. We promise. On day 1, we will provide shirts, hats, books, and pens. Our only request is that they wear khaki shorts with a belt and sneakers.
My child previously graduated from the program but wants to come back and help.
Known as "the red shirts," former students may come back and assist with current classes. In 2014, we expanded this program and created the FBPD Youth Leadership Program. This program runs year round and is designed to take the kids to the next step by promoting leadership, followership, and responsibility.
If you have any questions now, please feel free to contact any of our YPA coordinators at (732) 462-1233:
Sgt. Ronnie R. Steppat Jr.
Ptl. Kevin Werner
Ptl. Shaun Hobbs