Cape Elizabeth and South Portland Police Department host Senior Transition Project 2022/Courtesy Photo

CAPE ELIZABETH — Seven Cape Elizabeth High School seniors will work with the South Portland and Cape Elizabeth police departments for the next two weeks for their Senior Transition Project.  

“The Senior Transition Project program usually runs for three weeks, but due to officers being unavailable we are participating for two weeks,” said School Resource Officer David I. Galvan.  

The Senior Transition Project allows high school seniors to choose a profession they are interested in learning about as a possible career path. It is an end-of-year project for the senior class.  

“This is the 20th year that we have been having seniors finish their academics before the end of the school year in order to go out and give back to the community by volunteering or job shadowing,” said Cape Elizabeth High School teacher Ted Jordan. “It is usually two weeks long but because our graduation ceremony falls later on June (the 12th) than normal, the class of 2022 has three weeks. Our goals are to have students give back to this community which has given them so much.

“Secondly, it is an opportunity for the seniors to see directly how a trade or profession actually is from the inside. A significant number of students are offered summer jobs by the organization that they volunteered for. Some students have changed their plans for the future based on their experience in the Senior Transition Project. Years ago, a senior had been accepted into a college in Washington to study political science but based upon her experience in her the project with a photographer, she switched schools and majors, studying documentary filmmaking instead. A senior from last year’s class volunteered with a local electrician for his the project. That electrician hired him after graduation, and he works there to this day.”  

Students began the project by completing the Maine Criminal Justice Academy’s physical fitness test, which is given to all law enforcement officers before they begin the academy. The fitness test consists of timed push-ups, sit-ups, and a mile and a half run. Police Chief Paul Fenton taught the students defensive tactics. Students learned the basics, for example, striking, kicks, officer positioning, and other techniques of ground fighting.  


During the beginning of the week, students learned about driving under the influence cases and how police officers detect impairment in a person. Students were given impairment goggles also known as “drunk goggles” to simulate being under the influence. The goggles use vision-distorting lenses to simulate the effects of intoxication. Students also learned about traffic stops and the reasons why a traffic stop is performed and how to conduct a traffic stop safely.  

To complete the first week, seniors began the day by going to the South Portland Police Department to look over their SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team equipment. Two officers, who are both members of the Southern Maine Regional SWAT team, showed the group of students the several types of equipment that they use when going to SWAT calls. Students went inside the tactical rescue vehicle and were able to look over the different equipment. Students also were given a lesson on forcible entry, learned patrol tactics, and building entries, and were able to handle and shoot a pepper ball launcher. Students concluded the day with lessons on patrol tactics and building entries. 

According to a Cape Elizabeth police news release, “We concluded the day with several simulation drills in which lights were used to illuminate different paper targets. These simulation rounds are used for training and are projectiles that have a colored detergent in them. The drills taught the students the importance of tactics and communication while operating in a stressful environment.” 

Cape Elizabeth Police Chief Paul Fenton previously stated how the police department would conduct seat belt enforcement detail and distracted driving detail. Fenton said the department would go to the high school and middle school to educate the students on seat belt awareness. 

“The Senior Transition Project is unrelated to the seat belt and distracted driving details, but we had the students help us with the Seat Belt Challenge that was held at the middle school, ” said Galvan. 

The seniors will conclude the project on Friday where they will conduct different scenarios. 

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