WINFIELD, Kan. (KSNW) – They may be the future of law enforcement in Kansas, but some college students are getting that experience much earlier than they expected.
“This is as real as I think it could possibly get,” says Mitchell Simpson.
Behind the wheel of an old police cruiser, sophomores Mitchell Simpson and Alicia Pack are partners against crime working their beat in downtown Winfield.
“We try to mix it up every night in how we do it,” says Simpson.
Together, they patrol the alleyways looking for anything out of the ordinary. Then, they’re on their feet making sure street side businesses are safe.
“We shake doors downtown, on downtown businesses, to make sure they are locked when they are supposed to be locked,” explains Simpson.
These students are enrolled in Cowley College and come all the way from Arkansas City to cruise these streets for several hours each night.
The Student Patrol Program has been around for more than 30 years.
One Frank Owens, Director of Criminal Justice, participated in himself.
“It is a fairly intensive program as far as keeping good partnerships with police departments,” says Owens.
For the first time its in Winfield, thanks in part to the Winfield Police Department handing over the keys to an old Ford cruiser to students.
With these tools, it’s almost like actually being a cop.
“There are certain people who you will run into every night on your patrol if they have their routine,” says Alicia Pack.
They’re learning the ropes together and getting as much out of the program as they are from the community.
“The police departments and the community, we have been very blessed to have them,” says Simpson. “I feel like I could not be more ready at this point in my life.”
Students at the college also go through a special simulator that prepares them for active shooter situations as well as getting a variety of other certifications.