LAPD Officers Investigated For 'Military-Style' Boot Camp For Children
It's billed as a way to help troubled teens in Hollywood, Calif., but a military-style boot camp run by two Los Angeles police officers appears to bully and intimidate kids enrolled in the program, and has led to a departmental investigation.
Two online videos (including the one below) show drill instructors screaming at young participants, disparaging them and, in at least one instance, challenging a child to a fight, KTLA reports.
The scenes show officers taunting and screaming at the children, including one who appears to be about 6 years old, though most look to be about 11 to 15. Another scene shows a group of girls struggling to complete exercises, with some in tears as they do pushups or are yelled at by the officers.
The two officers behind the boot camp, Ismael Gonzalez and Alex Nava, have defended the weekend program, which they began in February.
"The program is positive not only for our kids, but for the parents," Gonzalez told the Los Angeles Daily News.
Gonzalez said that his Juvenile Intervention Program is modeled after the similar Juvenile Impact Program run by the police department itself. But he and Nava charge twice as much -- $200 -- for the 12-week program, in which parents also receive counseling.
The Los Angeles Police Department told KTLA that it was unaware of Gonzalez and Nava's program, and that internal affairs is investigating both the class and the officers involved.
Video below starts at 0:51.
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David Schepp has spent more than a dozen years covering business news for the electronic and print media, including Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News, Gannett Co., and most recently at AOL's DailyFinance. Nearly 10 years ago, he started writing a weekly People@Work column, looking in depth at issues facing workers in today's workplace. The syndicated column appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide before it made its debut on DailyFinance in 2010. Schepp now continues that tradition at Aol Jobs, covering the jobs beat and providing readers insight and analysis into the nation's challenging employment scene.
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