RAPID CITY, S.D. — As South Dakota experiences its first ever Week of Work, which gives middle and high school students the opportunity to explore careers around the state, the Rapid City Police Department concluded its annual Youth Outreach program.
The Work Week started on Monday, April 19 and concludes on Friday, April 23.
It’s an opportunity for students to put themselves in the boots of Rapid City law enforcement. The RCPD’s program lasts five weeks.
RCPD Detective Matthew Almeida, who teaches in the internship program, was in it 15 years ago when he was a senior at Rapid City Central High School.
That’s when a cadet mentor pushed him to become a member of the force.
“I feel like the whole ride-along, he spent it trying to convince me to be a cadet, here at the police department,” Almeida said.
Now, he trains students ages 16-18 on what it’s like to roll with police officers.
It’s his job to show the students what to expect in all phases of being an officer.
“A lot of the students who are in the class want to be a police officer, want to be a detective, want to be working in a crime lab, so I try to incorporate all of those things,” Almeida said.
For Alexandria Nelson, a Senior at Rapid City Stevens High School, the initial interest was pretty ordinary.
“What really grabbed my attention was the driving of the police cars, not gunna lie,” Nelson said. “That sounded really interesting and fun.”
But it’s what she took away from the officer’s stories that left an impression.
“It really gave you a perspective of what the cops really deal with,” Nelson said.
Nelson is a member of the South Dakota National Guard, and after serving, plans to become a pediatric nurse.
Officers who are also National Guard members showed her how the military can prepare students to join law enforcement.
“The military really prepared them, so when they came in, they had already a lot of the stuff,” Nelson said. “They were already physically and mentally prepared.”
A program dedicated to showing students of a life in public service.
A list of work week links can be found here.