Arlington high school students can soon get themselves on a fast track to a job at the city's police department.
On Tuesday, Arlington ISD, UTA and the Arlington Police Department announced a new partnership that will help recruit hometown kids to become cops.
The goal of the program is to identify students who are from Arlington with the aptitude and the interest in policing, and to give them an inside track to getting hired.
Starting next fall, a core group in the Arlington school district will begin a curriculum earning college credit in criminal justice.
Martin High School junior Connor Vollmering says he can't wait.
"Just ‘cause you're getting firsthand experience from knowledgeable officers," said Vollmering. "And they're already putting some of that knowledge onto you, so you'll be better prepared whenever you do go out onto the field."
The coursework will apply to the students' high school graduation and credits at the University of Texas Arlington.
UTA President Vistap Khabhari says the criminal justice program has nearly doubled in size compared to five years ago.
"…and I think this program allows students to save money; to move forward with their lives and give back to the community in which they are situated," said Khabhari.
Chief Johnson says people apply to his department all the time and never get through the door.
That won't be the case for students in this program.
"What we're guaranteeing to these aspiring young people that wanna come into law enforcement is that if you participate in this program at our AISD high schools, if you participate in this program and get a degree here in UTA, the Arlington Police Department will give you a job interview," said Johnson.
The police department can't promise a job, but the students in the program will no doubt be the best prepared.
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