Secretary of State visits leadership academy at West Liberty University
WEST LIBERTY — West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner told high-schoolers participating in a law enforcement leadership academy at West Liberty University the state will need leaders like them in the future.
Warner on Wednesday visited the West Virginia Sheriffs’ Association Youth Leadership Academy taking place on the college campus to meet with students and sheriffs from around the state.
“I’m very impressed with the number of high school students in West Virginia interested in the law enforcement profession,” Warner said. “It’s certainly something that I admire, their willingness to serve both as first responders and police-type work.”
About 150 high-schoolers with an interest in law enforcement from across West Virginia are attending the six-day summer program at West Liberty that ends Friday.
The summer program is run by a staff of about 50 sheriffs, deputies, community volunteers and other professionals. It aims to teach students about responsibility and civic engagement.
Warner thanked Ohio County and West Liberty for hosting the event and congratulated those who made in-kind donations to the academy, providing food, equipment and T-shirts.
“To see it all come together and the high morale of the students … you see students who come back year after year after year, starting as cadets and now in a leadership role, it’s great to see,” he said.
On Wednesday morning, Warner swore in officers elected by the students at the academy in a ceremony held behind Main Hall. He also spent the day meeting with students and talking about their future careers.
“I’m going to spend as much time with the students to hear what motivated them to participate so we can help spread that,” Warner said after the ceremony. “Any time I can interact with students at that level to encourage civic engagement, I’m going to use it.”
In the afternoon, Warner addressed students through a presentation about the role of the secretary of state, election cybersecurity and the importance of registering to vote.
“West Virginia needs that kind of leadership to keep people in the state,” he said. “I want to encourage them to be involved in (cybersecurity) as they go to college.”
Over the past two plus years, Warner has led an effort to register more than 36,000 high school students to vote, all of whom will be eligible to vote in their first presidential election in 2020, according to his office.
In addition, this week marks the first time the annual academy, now in its 25th year, has been held in the Northern Panhandle.
“I love seeing camps like this going on in the summer, students spending their time learning stuff like this for a professional career,” Warner said.