SCHOOL PATROL: Heritage High offering public safety class - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

SCHOOL PATROL: Heritage High offering public safety class

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CATOOSA COUNTY, GA. (WRCB) -- In Catoosa County, Heritage High School actually has a class which permits teenagers to drive a police car. 

You're probably asking, "What could possibly go wrong?" Well, so far nothing and a lot of things have gone right.

The class is public safety, one of only a few in North Georgia. The car is a donated police car. 

The Catoosa County Sheriff's Department has supplied it to Heritage High at no charge.  In fact, teacher Chance Nix considers it an investment in the county's future.

"It's actually the SRO's car," Nix says. "They were gonna retire it, but it will last us a long time."

Starting in ninth grade, Heritage students can sign up for the public safety class, giving them a leg up for a career in emergency services, police work, courts, corrections, fire and forensics. 

Some want a lifestyle of excitement, others want to help people, and most have seen television shows that have influenced their career choice.

"NCIS, Cops, bunch of shows like that," student, Paul Allen Courtney says.

As soon as Heritage received the police car, they cleaned it, waxed it, and got stickers proclaiming it the school's security car. 

Sheriff's department officials say it looks great, and will serve as the symbol for a program that should ensure them quality applicants for years to come.

"So many times we get an applicant who finds out they really don't want to do this," says Major Gary Sisk, with the Catoosa County Sheriff's Office. "Here, we get a better vision of how they want to handle their career."

And it's a popular class.

Mr. Nix has a long list of students waiting to get in, hoping to join a group that has already won statewide honors, with the potential of doing even better with a real police car in which to practice their skills.
"So we've got third in the state," Nix says. "Hopefully, this will push us to first in the state."

The public safety class also plans to use their new police car at school football games and other high-traffic events, to help keep their campus safe.

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