Several Arkansas City Middle School students were given the opportunity to see Arkansas City from an entirely new perspective this week.

Twelve seventh-graders spent time visiting several of the City of Arkansas City’s departments — six on May 8 and six on May 9.

Each day, the teens were split into three groups and each group was sent with a different department — police, fire-EMS and public works. They rotated between departments at set intervals.

They also ate lunch with city commissioners in City Manager Nick Hernandez’s office.

The students were chosen after writing essays loosely based on an essay competition put on annually by the League of Kansas Municipalities, with the intention of encouraging seventh-graders to be civically active.

The LKM contest is called “If I Were Mayor.”

Teachers Clint Lawson and Aaron O’Donnell accompanied the students on their outings.

Arkansas City Police Department

Students were given a tour of the police department by Lt. Anthony Rider.

City of Arkansas City tour

Photo by JENI McGEE

They were able to see where records are held, as well as holding cells and the Breathalyzer room.

Afterward, they went on ride-alongs with the officers on duty. Kayleih Erwin rode with Officer T.J. Hall.

Before climbing into the front seat, Hall showed Erwin the equipment that he uses during regular daily duties.

During the ride-along, Hall asked Erwin what she wanted to be when she grew up. “A firefighter,” she said.

Erwin’s grandfather is volunteer firefighter-EMT Mike Evinger.

While she was with Hall, only one driver was pulled over for speeding.

Arkansas City Fire-EMS Department

While at the fire-EMS department, the students took a tour of the facility and were able to ride around the block in various ACFD trucks.

City of Arkansas City tour

Photo by JENI McGEE

They also got to see the city from above in the aerial platform, more than 80 feet in the air.

The students were able to learn how to use the departments’ ropes and harnesses.

After being harnessed in and donning helmets and gloves, they lowered themselves down from a height of 10 to 15 feet.

Public Works Department

During the public works tour, “Doppler” Bob Frazee, the city’s emergency management coordinator, took students around the levee that surrounds Ark City.

On May 9, he also had students gather when he sounded the tornado sirens at noon for the weekly test of the system.

The groups also toured the new Water Treatment Facility, currently under construction on West Madison Avenue.