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Aspiring Fla. officers to get own high school

The Miami Herald

MIAMI — Come fall 2009, teenagers eager to investigate homicides, keep the peace in crowded jails, or prosecute bad guys for a living will be able to choose a high school created just for them.

Police, city and school administrators gathered in a scrubby open lot next to Miami police headquarters Thursday to break ground for a criminal justice-themed Senior High School for Law Studies, Homeland Security and Forensic Sciences.

The new high school, which will accommodate 500 students, is part of a program devised by Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Rudy Crew to create schools devoted to particular career fields.

It would function like magnet schools, with interested students from across the county invited to apply.

Long-held belief

Crew told the audience Thursday that he and Miami Police Chief John Timoney first discussed the idea for a law-enforcement high school over a decade ago when they both worked in New York City.

"We had an interesting start of something along these lines, but nothing ever matured to the level proposed here," he said. "Many of us, when we were coming up, would have liked to have a school that spoke to us about our career paths and a way to be able to get there."

The four-story, 112,300 square-foot, $35.4 million facility will also house the City of Miami Police College, including the Institute of Democratic Policing, geared to training officers from newly democratic nations, particularly in the Caribbean and Latin America.

The building, designed by the architectural firm Spillis Candela DMJM, will be connected by a bridge to police headquarters at 400 NW Second Ave.

"It will allow us to not only train our officers, but to train officers from all over the world," said Miami City Commission Chairman Joe Sanchez.

"We will be able to learn from them and they will learn from us,"

Timoney said the high school is perfectly located because students could pursue internships with the state attorney's office or the Miami-Dade County Courthouse, both located close to the site, and other agencies.

Crew told the gathering to expect more specialized-school projects in the near future.

'Career interests'

"You'll see this happening more throughout the county as we team up and provide these sort of schools that really give kids the option of being able to pursue their career interests while at the same time completing high school," he said.

Other specialized schools in the Miami-Dade pipeline include a 700-seat medical technology high school at the site of the former Homestead Hospital, a 1,300-seat math and science academy close to Metrozoo, a 700-seat international studies school on Madruga Avenue in Coral Gables and a 400-seat environmental science school at Southwest 107th Avenue and 84th Street in Kendall.

Copyright 2008 The Miami Herald

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