Kentucky students graduate from FBI program - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky students graduate from FBI program

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) They're not your typical FBI recruits. A Kentucky-based program is giving students across the area a rare opportunity to see law enforcement up close. Officials hope the week-long effort will mean life-long results. 

"To be a leader, to help people, it's a passion," Chloe Smith, 13, said.

21 faces with young minds and big dreams. "As a child, I was adopted and I want a chance to help younger children that need it. I feel like there's unfit mothers and parents out here and i feel like I could be the one to help them. I want to be a part of my community and help change the world," Cashmon Usher, student, said.

At 17, Usher is preparing now to become a lawyer, thanks in part to a program called Future Agents in Training.

Minerva Virola saw the need through 26 years of police experience. "I think it's so important to know that these kids are our future. As a police officer initially, when I first started in law enforcement, I seen these young teenagers killing themselves, sadness or grief or overdose or not being connected with the community or not being heard," Virola said.

She began the connection process three years ago. "I'm going to support these young kids, I'm going to listen to them, I'm going to provide them resources, this is what I do," Virola said.

Through a partnership with the FBI and the YMCA, students get to spend a week with the FBI, police and fire department and judicial system. "It kind of changed my way of looking at police officers," Christopher Pryor, 13,  said. 

This year, more than 50 high school students applied. "She actually came to me and told me about it. I didn't know anything about it," Ronique Cofield, Usher's mother said.

"I was kind of iffy, I don't want to write a 500 word essay on a one question, so I still did it and got in surprisingly. I was very happy about that. It's been a really good experience and I like it very much," Pryor said.

"They all want to be here and that's the difference. Before I had other camps where grandma or auntie was signing them up. This one is they sign themselves up," Virola said.

"There's a lot of kids that didn't get accepted. And the kids that's here today, they're very lucky to be here. For you to be handpicked, and be here, that's a good opportunity," Usher said.

From lining up in official fashion to learning how to save a life, their instructors said programs like this now shape decisions later. "We learned a lot about drugs and different gang-related issues and things like that, and I feel like that was a good experience for me to learn."

After a week of training, they graduated Friday. "I was very impressed and I'm proud of her for that. She's forging forth and wants to do something good with her life," Cofield said.

The program is over for the summer. However, it's the lessons learned this week that mentors hope will carry on in their future. "They can achieve anything they want to in the world. Anything," Virola said.

The application process for next year will begin in the spring. Officials encourage the community to keep an eye on FBI Louisville's Twitter page

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