The Baltimore County Police Department is hosting its 13th annual Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) this week.

The YLA offers the teens, 14 to 18, the opportunity to develop leadership skills while having fun and meeting with peers who are like-minded.

Each day the teenagers meet at the Police Training Academy at 8 a.m. and begin a week of new insight into the Police Department and the people who serve.

The teens learn about leadership, decision-making, communication, teamwork, public service and much more.

The week brings field trips to the Marine Unit, Aviation Unit and the K9 Unit. All units are unique and all important to the work of the department.

At the police academy, they role play crime scenes. Teens are pushed to think, investigate and interview crime victims and suspects. They soon discover this isn’t CSI.

The teens get a break during all this activity with free lunches and snacks during the day.

The week is exciting and educational. Young people who are thinking about working in the criminal justice field will find this time well spent.