WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. — A 2-year-old Belgian Malinois wearing a Paterson K9 Unit vest tore across the field at Westwood Regional High School on Wednesday.
Waiting for his bite on the other side was a Paterson police officer -- well-protected in a padded suit.
The show kept 120 children rapt at the Pascack Valley Junior Police Academy , launched 16 years ago by Washington Township Lt. Richard Skinner.
"It's just a great way for police officers to interact with the kids," Skinner said. "Most of us are either current or former D.A.R.E. officers or are involved in schools already, so it's kind of a natural fit."
The week-long program is a collaboration among the Washington Township, Hillsdale and Westwood police departments for children 10 to 14.
The main goals are to help them build friendships with other youngsters in surrounding towns and educate them on the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
Each morning begins with a physical training session -- this year from Sample Fitness -- and the rest of the day is filled with various demonstrations.
The Paramus Motorcycle Unit, Bergen County Sheriff's Office Bomb Squad and a DEA agent all volunteered.
Recruits were to visit the U.S. Marshall's Trading Center on Thursday and see a landing by AirMed One from Hackensack University Medical Center on Friday.