Two high school seniors recently got the chance to shadow police officers for a day as part of a new program offered to students in Cullman County.

Two high school seniors in Vinemont, Ala. recently got the opportunity to shadow police officers for a day as part of a new program offered to students in Cullman County.

Vinemont senior Drew Barnes stated that he got inspired to pursue a career in law enforcement because of his father.

“There’s a lot of stress involved with the job and the pay is low,” Barnes said, “There’s also a lot of pressure in the job, but the people who do it inspire me, my dad is one of them. He’s a police officer.”

Another senior, Kelsee Smith, has different reasons for wanting to work in law enforcement.

“I want to be an investigator; I’m obsessed with all the shows about forensics and investigating cases.” Smith said. “It’s all just really interesting to me. I like figuring things out.”

As part of the program, Cullman Police Chief Kenny Culpepper introduced participating students to dispatchers, investigators and other officers to give them an idea of their daily job function.

“I think this process gave them a more realistic idea of what is all involved in this job,” Culpepper said. “I talked to them about the difference in what they see on television dramas and what all goes into completing an investigation or making an arrest. The time factor in shows versus the real world wait time are very different.”

Sergeant Jeff Warnke discussed the job of a patrol officer with the students.

“It is a tough job for the pay and the stress we encounter; You might be really bored one minute and it be complete hysteria the next,” Warnke said. “I’m glad to see they are looking forward and planning ahead. You just have to maintain a calm perspective for the public’s sake. I think though just seeing these two, there’s hope for the future of law enforcement.”

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