LE MARS, Iowa (KCAU) — On Saturday, students saw what it takes to be a police officer in Le Mars by learning the ins and outs of how the department runs.

Thirteen high school students got an inside look at how the Le Mars Police Department operates.

“It gives you a hand on experience and an inside look at what cops do for our community,” said Police Youth Academy participants Maggie Allen and Hannah Albert.

Allen and Albert are both interested in possibly pursuing a career in law enforcement.

Saturday’s class allowed them to learn how to investigate a crime scene.

“Lessons on homicide and like how much goes into investigating the scene for that. We lifted fingerprints off a car and stuff, so, it was pretty cool,” said Albert.

This is the first time the Le Mars Police Department offered a course to students.

“We had a couple citizen academies, and we had some interest from individuals who were in high school. On the citizen side, we do require that they be 18 years of age, but this is allowing an opportunity for some of the youth in Le Mars to get involved in our academies,” said Chief Kevin Vande Vegte.

The course was made possible through community funding.

“We did get a nice funding source through the United Way this year that is helping us pay for the materials for this course, so really helping us kick that off, so we would like to thank United Way for helping us with this program,” said Vande Vegte.

The students hope to take the lessons from the academy and apply them to their future careers.

“I’ve always wanted to be able to do a job that helps, so I think this is the best option for me. It helped me realize that I would like to do crime investigation while also working to serve our country,” said Allen and Albert.

Students walked away with a certificate and a badge for their participation.