BUILDING TOMORROW’S LEADERS AT THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACADEMY
The Criminal Justice Academy at Atlantic Community High School is a four-year college-level curriculum that combines academics, physical training, and marching and drill.
The Criminal Justice program offers courses with rigorous content and challenging academic standards that provide relevant technical knowledge and skills. Through project-based, hands-on learning activities, students are prepared for further education and careers in a variety of areas within the Law, Public Safety, and Security Career Cluster.
Practical skills and field exercises include: courtroom demeanor and testifying; report writing; identification; collection and preservation of evidence; interviewing techniques; radio communications; patrol techniques; traffic direction; traffic crash investigations; defensive tactics; CPR; First Aid; and fingerprinting. Students have the opportunity to earn industry certification as Public Service Aides (PSA), as well as Accredited Legal Secretaries (ALS).
The Academy places great emphasis on teaching respect, discipline, leadership skills, self-control, organizational skills, and physical fitness. They use a paramilitary style of instruction, along with a tiered rank structure made up of student supervisors. These supervisors are selected based on behavior, performance, willingness to lead, and results of an oral board and written test.
"It is a privilege to be called an educator of young people,” said Officer Karl Milenkovic, a teacher in the Academy. “It is our responsibility to teach them to think critically, analyze intelligently, and to make them more employable, not to indoctrinate them into group think or partisan beliefs."
Upon successful completion of the four years in the Academy, each student graduate receives an industry certification as a Community Service Officer, C.S.O. They are also eligible to apply for a Community Service Officer position with the Delray Beach Police Department (DBPD).
Currently there are seven graduates of the Academy who are now law enforcement officers in the DBPD. Another six students have gone on to be police officers with departments throughout the country.
"It's honorable to watch Academy students explore the opportunities afforded to them by their local police department,” said Officer Daisy Addea from the DBPD. “I'm proud to call them my brothers and sisters in blue."
College credit opportunities are an added benefit for eligible Criminal Justice Academy students, through articulation agreements with local colleges and universities. All students applying to these programs must have a minimum 2.5 GPA, and pass a background check.