Sixteen Surrey high school students are among 50 teens being put to the test this week to see if they've got what it takes to be a cop.
They'll be getting a serious taste of what a career in law enforcement would be like at the 17th annual Lower Mainland RCMP Youth Academy, running for eight days until April 11.
Surrey RCMP Const. Derek Bonner, 24, went through the program himself in 2004 and now serves as a "troop mentor."
"The academy is as close to realtime policing as these students are going to see," Bonner said.
The Surrey Mountie grew up in Port Moody and heard about the program through his career prep program while attending high school in Coquitlam. Today he works with the detachment's youth section.
"The Youth Academy told me 100 per cent that this is what I want to do with my life," Bonner said. "After we finished the eight days, my goal in life never changed after that."
This is his third year as an academy instructor.
"It's a great feeling to be able to give the kids the experience that I got when I was there," he said.
The students will learn, through presentations, demonstrations and participating in mock policing scenarios, what the job is like. It's a grueling schedule, but that doesn't deter some 80 per cent of the students who end about pursuing a career in policing.
"It's the greatest job in the world," Bonner said. "I get to come to work and help people and get a different experience every day. For me, it's the coming to work not knowing what that day is going to bring, and just getting the excitement of something new every day."