The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office gave the CSI/Law Enforcement students at the Career & Technology Center an early Christmas present a few weeks ago.

Next semester, the students will get to use a retired police vehicle for learning.

The father of student Michael Miller works for the Sheriff’s Office, and he helped jumpstart the process for the class to receive the patrol car.

“They came to us and asked if we wanted it, and I said, ‘Absolutely!’” class instructor Cory DeVaul said.

The class, which is a two-year program, already had one vehicle donated from the Blue Springs Police Department. The one from the Sheriff’s Office is a newer model.

“We’re pretty excited because it’s a newer version,” said Grain Valley senior Brianna Carter. “Getting into it and being able to use the lights when we run through our traffic stops is pretty exciting.”

Added CTC student Jayden Bishop: “It has some of the newer tech in it. It’s definitely an upgrade from the last one.”

The students now will have two vehicles to work with to participate in simulated traffic stops, which includes checking for license and registration and turning on the lights and sirens.

“When you have 18 students, there’s some down time with some of the other students,” DeVaul said. “Having two groups will help get everything done faster. They get more training, more repetition and more practice.”

“They will go through all the procedures that they would if they did an actual car stop. They start the process from inside the vehicle as if they stop that (violator car) right there. They have to operate the lights and do the multitasking that comes along with being a police officer during a traffic stop.”

The police cars will be used for other purposes, as well.

“Hopefully we will be able to take it to some community events that we will get invited to,” DeVaul said. “We want to promote our program. We go to the Blue Springs Police Department and help them with their National Night Out. We also help out with Jackson County’s Trunk or Treat.”

In addition to the mock traffic stops, next semester the students will job shadow with local police departments and crime-scene units, and they also will sit in during court cases.

During the first semester, students learned about investigating crime scenes, fingerprinting, get certified for CPR and how to use tasers properly.

“We’ve been learning about investigating crime scenes every day for a couple of weeks now,” Bishop said. “It’s been part of our final. And we work on handcuffing for some of our competitions (at SkillsUSA).”

Added Carter: “We can actually do crime scene investigations for competitions or you can teach someone how to handcuff and to fingerprint.”

The training helps prepare students to become police officers in the future. DeVaul said some of his graduates begin as dispatchers right out of high school since they have to be 21 before they can become an officer. Students also can receive three hours of dual credit to the University of Central Missouri or five hours of credit for Metropolitan Community College at Blue River.

“This helps prepare them for college classes. When they get there, they are already a jump ahead,” DeVaul said. “It help them hopefully get on with other departments if that’s what they want to do. I have a couple of alumni who are dispatchers. One’s working for the Lee’s Summit Police Department, and one’s working for the Sheriff’s Department out east. They all do different things.”