at the ready review

Wearing bulky Kevlar vests and bulletproof helmets, a squadron of law enforcement personnel prepare to enter a residence. It’s an image that is primed to make one automatically raises one’s hackles — given the sociopolitical landscape in the past 10, 20 years, we know exactly how this scene will play out. But then you notice how young they all are. Sporting braces and adolescent acne underneath their paramilitary equipment, the mostly Mexican-American teenagers of Horizon High School are participating in simulations of high-stress policing situations as part of their school’s law enforcement club — one of the many popular law enforcement clubs in the region that puts them on a fast-track to getting a job at Border Patrol. See, Horizon High School lies about 10 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, home to one of the country’s largest immigrant populations — and to one of the region’s largest law enforcement education programs.

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