Girls become a team after two weeks training with the Greer Police Department

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Tuesday, June 28, 2016

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The 2016 Greer Police Youth Academy graduating class.

Jim Fair

The 2016 Greer Police Youth Academy graduating class.



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The girls marching into the Municipal Courtroom.

Jim Fair

The girls marching into the Municipal Courtroom.


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The GPD congratulates the girls achieving their goals.

Jim Fair

The GPD congratulates the girls achieving their goals.


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Officer Ashley Wright conducted the girls academy for the second year.

Jim Fair

Officer Ashley Wright conducted the girls academy for the second year.



Lovely Gadson wants to be a Supreme Court Justice.

Kirsten McCollum wants to work as a crime scene investigator.

Both got an eye and earful the past two weeks as they were among 11 who attended the Greer Police Girls Youth Academy – designated Camp Juliet.

Officers Ashley Wright and Joel Galli, school resource officers at Greer Middle School and Riverside Middle School, conducted the academy, designed by Lt. Jim Holcombe, respectively.

Students are put through physical drills and witness activities of the police department through ride-alongs, shooting range (paintball-type munitions) and crime investigation and reporting.

Wright said it was the ropes course that proved the most challenging. “They were a little longer this year and it was more challenging getting through them,” she said.

“The girls didn’t want to quit and they kept doing it until they accomplished it. You could tell they were frustrated. But by the time they figured it out, they saw it was better working as a team,” Wright said.

“It was a good experience,” Ladson said, who won the ACE Award (Accepting the Challenge of Excellence) at Greer Middle School. “The courtroom was a little confusing trying to learn the terminology they use. But I learned a lot.”

McCollum who participated last year and was chosen the class leader, said, “It was challenging to have all of us come together, but it only took a couple of days to begin working as a team.

“I was surprised how much police officers do in a day,” McCollum, said.

Wright and Galli will conduct their fourth academy in two years in July when they work with the middle school boys.

“This is an opportunity to introduce youth to the program and what we do everyday in dealing with conflict out there,” Police Chief Dan Reynolds said. “We can’t solve crimes in ten minutes like you see on TV. Education is a big part of law enforcement. All our officers have a masters degree.”

“The girls were extremely competitive in physical drills,” Dale Haule, a volunteer with the adult police academy, who also participates in the youth academies. “The group did well. Once they became a team they worked well together.”

2016 Girls Youth Police Academy Graduates

Kirsten McCollum, Class leader

Tamara Bonaparte

Zahkiyrah Booker Assistant class leader

Reyna Garza, Most outstanding

Ruthmarie Gonzalez

Jasmyne Henry, Physical fitness

Jazzman Jacobs, Sharpshooter

Lovely Ladson

Gabriella Montalvo, Academic

Tyonna Newton, Most improved

Shannai Volquez-Vasquez, Assistant class leader

2015 GYPA Class

Olivia Beason Zahkiyrah Booker

Andrea Cheeks

Tomesha Snoddy-Edens, Squad leader and physical fitness

Makayla Finch

Alexis Fowler, academic achievement

Elisabeth Fowler, Class leader, outstanding overall performance

Mariazha Parks-Higgins, Squad leader

Kirsten McCollum, physical fitness

De’Asia Scott, Class leader, most improved

Katelyn Styles, physical fitness

Shannai Volquez-Volquez

McKenyze Williams



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