Tampa Police training teens to keep you safe during parade season

TAMPA, FL - Right now Tampa Police are gearing up for parade season.

January is jam packed with events starting with the MLK Day Parade, then of course Gasparilla.

With heavy crowds expected, the department is taking new measures to keep you safe.

Ever since she can remember, Jenna Duran aspired to protect and serve.

“My uncle is a sheriff with Hillsborough County, my mom is a detective and my dad is the post advisor for the explorers,” she said. 

To jump start her career, she joined the Tampa Police explorers, a volunteer based program giving young adults an opportunity to explore a career in law enforcement.

“It's actually a lot of fun, because it's more realistic of what you can become in the future and how cool it would be to do,” said Duran.

At 14-years-old, she’s getting the same bike training police get.

“The cone box is my hardest obstacle right now. Just keeping a slow steady pace,” said Duran.

She is one of 11 teens under the age of 20 taking the three day course.

They are getting certified to ride alongside officers to help watch crowds during major events like Gasparilla.

Sgt. Ed Kroissant said, “Not only is it a force multiplier with more troops on the ground, but the bikes are more maneuverable. You can get there faster, you can get through crowds faster.”

Kroissant says the kids are the extra set of eyes the force needs, but only that, they are never put in dangerous situations.

“If there is a post we can put them at that doesn't need a police officer, but needs someone there to monitor, we would post them there. Not by themselves they would be in numbers, they have radios they are trained in radio communications,” said Kroissant.

Duran hopes their presence shows the community they too can make a difference and Tampa Bay events safer for everyone to enjoy.

“It brings a smile to your face and it makes you want to do more in the community,” said Duran.

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