Not just marching for youngsters at GPD Boot Camp

Thursday, June 17, 2021
Giving a demonstration Wednesday morning, Indiana Conservation Officer dive team members Max Winchell and Chris Springstun (in water) interact with the cadets at the Greencastle Police Department summer boot camp at the Greencastle Aquatic Center.

The words “boot camp” may conjure mental images of marching, running and calesthenics in the hot sun.

The annual Police Boot Camp, presented by Greencastle Parks and Recreation and Greencastle Police Department, has been that for 43 kids this week, but also such much more.

On Wednesday, it included a visit to the Greencastle Aquatic Center, but not just for a dip in the pool.

That came later, but first the kids learned more about the work of Indiana Conservation Officers.

That lesson was courtesy of District 5 COs Max Winchell, Chris Springstun and Matt Vossmer, who told the kids about a variety of the duties performed in their line of work.

“We’re police officers,” Winchell said, “but we also get to do a lot of other cool things.”

These include enforcing hunting and fishing regulations, investigating ATV and UTV accidents, boat safety, river rescues, cave rescues, a drone team and a dive team, of which Winchell, Springstun and Vossmer are all members.

Their different duties also mean they can be found in more than just their patrol vehicles, Winchell told the kids, includes boats, jet skis and ATVs.

“We go in a lot of place that other officers don’t,” Winchell said.

The officers soon moved into a SCUBA demonstration in the dive tank of the city pool. This included Vossmer and Springstun donning their dry suits, SCUBA tanks and masks to show the kids a bit of what goes into that portion of their jobs.

Cadet Bowen O’Hair dons Conservation Officer Chris Springstun’s SCUBA mask Wednesday prior to a dive demonstration during Greencastle Police Department Boot Camp.

The cadets even had a chance to communicate with Vossmer when he was at the bottom of the pool and guide him in an attempt to retrieve objects from the bottom.

At one point this even included Springstun’s sunglasses after one of the kids threw them in the pool — at Winchell’s urging.

The demonstration was just one of many elements of public safety the cadets have learned about through the five-day camp.

Other elements of the week have included K-9 officers, tasers, air ambulance, a talk from Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter and firearms safety, culminating with a trip to the Putnam County firing range on Friday, followed by graduation at noon on Friday.

Even with a record number of cadets and a stretch of hot days, the week has been a success.

“It’s going real well,” counselor and GPD Officer Darrel Bunten said. “I’m impressed. We got a good group of kids.”

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  • So cool. I wonder how many minds were inspired to be just like one of those hero’s. Thank you to all that step up and reach out to our future.

    -- Posted by Money wise on Fri, Jun 18, 2021, at 6:57 AM
  • What a great program; 43 kids is a wonderful turnout!

    -- Posted by unbiased on Sat, Jun 19, 2021, at 2:58 PM
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