The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office held its eighth annual Teen Academy graduation ceremony Tuesday night at the NC Cooperative Extension Office.

About 30 teens completed the four-week program.

During the academy, the students learned about crime scene investigations, the dangers of narcotics, toured the detention center, watched the K-9 units in action, interacted with the NC State Highway Patrol and its helicopter, participated in an active shooter demonstration with the SERT team, met the ICE, ACE and Lake Patrol teams, and much more.

Tuesday was a night to recap and celebrate the students’ accomplishments with their families while enjoying refreshments and rewards for participating in the specialized program.

Each student received a certificate along with a commemorative coin and T-shirt.

“You’re a part of our family now,” Sheriff Darren Campbell said. “That’s what this coin symbolizes.”

He stressed how valuable the lessons the lessons learned are to the students.

“We hope it’s a lesson,” Campbell said. “Whether it’s one minute, one second, one evening, it will change a bad decision you’ll make in the future. If we don’t talk to you, a drug dealer will.”

Students shared what they enjoyed most and parents thanked the ICSO for helping to protect children and keep them out of trouble.

Campbell confirmed how effective the program is.

“Not one Teen Academy participant has a juvenile record,” he shared.

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