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Junior Makenna Rugani pursues a career in law enforcement

Standing+tall%2C+junior+Makenna+Rugani+poses+in+her+South+Technical+High+School+%28South+Tech%29+uniform.+Rugani+attends+South+Tech+in+pursuit+of+one+day+becoming+a+police+officer.+%22The+media+makes+some+people+believe+we+are+the+enemy%2C+when+in+fact+is+is+the+opposite%2C%22+Rugani+said.+
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Junior Makenna Rugani pursues a career in law enforcement

Standing tall, junior Makenna Rugani poses in her South Technical High School (South Tech) uniform. Rugani attends South Tech in pursuit of one day becoming a police officer.

Standing tall, junior Makenna Rugani poses in her South Technical High School (South Tech) uniform. Rugani attends South Tech in pursuit of one day becoming a police officer. "The media makes some people believe we are the enemy, when in fact is is the opposite," Rugani said.

Olivia Riemer

Standing tall, junior Makenna Rugani poses in her South Technical High School (South Tech) uniform. Rugani attends South Tech in pursuit of one day becoming a police officer. "The media makes some people believe we are the enemy, when in fact is is the opposite," Rugani said.

Olivia Riemer

Olivia Riemer

Standing tall, junior Makenna Rugani poses in her South Technical High School (South Tech) uniform. Rugani attends South Tech in pursuit of one day becoming a police officer. "The media makes some people believe we are the enemy, when in fact is is the opposite," Rugani said.

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Every morning by 7:35 a.m., junior Makenna Rugani stands in a single file line ready for inspection at South Technical High School.

Rugani’s relationship with her grandfather inspired her to serve as an officer when she grows older.

“My grandfather used to volunteer at a fire department and I look up to him. I also always thought the police officers were cool in movies which sparked my interest too,” Rugani said.

The law enforcement class is set up to be 50 percent textbook training and 50 percent hands-on training.

“We partner up and handcuff each other for practice. We have fake guns that we use in role play scenarios. Even though everything is fake, sometimes it can seem very real,” Rugani said.

Rugani wears a blue polo, tactical pants, a black belt and her lieutenant pin everyday to school.

“That is my uniform for tech school, but sometimes I keep it on the whole day because changing out of it every single day becomes a drag,” Rugani said. “People do look at me and wonder why I am wearing that but it doesn’t bother me.”

The Law Enforcement program takes students through a two year introduction to the Police Academy through training exercises, crime scenarios, self-defense and fitness training. Students learn conflict mediation and resolution, investigation techniques and are trained to use advanced security training equipment, including vehicles.

“I was nervous to go into this program at first because it is new to me and not many people are involved in it,” Rugani said. “But I think trying new things is an important part of growth and it allows you to branch out and meet new people.”

Rugani is confident that her training better prepares her future career better than a typical high school environment would have.

“My law enforcement teacher focuses on having good morals and how we can take those and implement them in everyday life. I’ve noticed that people are more polite and respect me more for being kind and respectful to them. This makes me feel good about myself and i’m happy to be spreading positive energy all around me,” Rugani said.

Rugani believes this experience has shaped her into a better person.

“I’ve become a lot more respectful when speaking to others, especially small things like using ‘ma’am’ and ‘sir,’” Rugani said. “Manners are everything and they gain you respect because a lot of people don’t have them nowadays.”

Feeling like officers are portrayed in a bad light on social media and the news, Rugani is making it her mission to teach people the truth.

“People need to understand that the whole idea of law enforcement isn’t to be evil. All police officers aren’t bad guys trying to be unfair,” Rugani said. “Like any job, there may be people who might not have the best morals or they make mistakes. That doesn’t define the job, that defines that individual person. The media makes some people believe we are the enemy, when in fact it is the exact opposite.”

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Junior Makenna Rugani pursues a career in law enforcement