So what is ALLECA?
ALLECA is a partnered youth program between the Department of Arizona American Legion and the Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZ DPS) that began back in 1981 and has now reached its 35th year. ALLECA is one of only seventeen (17) such programs in the United States (Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, and Virginia) that are geared toward those individual teenagers who have shown an interest in some phase of law enforcement or military and ours is unique because much of the program is focused on physical fitness. This is one of the many “Children and Youth” programs that are sponsored by The American Legion and our program is seen as the national model for such programs. The program consists of a seven-day encampment and is held at the St. Joseph’s Youth Camp (Mormon Lake Village), which is about 23 miles South of Flagstaff. The program is offered to youths between the ages of 11 and 18. The cadets are fed three meals a day and are provided quarters and uniforms.
This camp is not meant to correct disciplinary problems, but is one developed for kids interested in law enforcement or the military. Physical training is rigorous, so cadets attending the academy must be in good shape and able to run 1.5 miles within 15 minutes, and complete 35 push-ups and sit-ups (depending upon age group) upon entering the program. The cadets experience many aspects of law enforcement including, but not limited to; first-aid, air rescue, introduction to police K-9s, defensive tactics, SWAT, collision investigation, Citizenship and Americanism, building searches, active shooter, what not to do when driving, how to prevent bullying, etc. The encampment is under the direct leadership of the Arizona Department of Public Safety with most of the instruction being provided by certified Arizona or Federal law enforcement officers.