VIDEO: Citizen’s Police Academy

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI)- Twenty or so Tupelo area residents now have a better idea of what it takes to be an effective law enforcement officer.

Every Monday and Thursday night, for the past ten weeks, more than 20 area residents were able to learn about different aspects of police work. One session focused on driving techniques.

Another gave participants a chance to learn about the Tupelo Police Department’s Bomb Squad, with some demonstrations.

And classroom time covered subjects such as forensics, hate crimes and constitutional law. The sixty hour course is meant to show students in the “Citizens Police Academy” why police officers do things a certain way.

“Our main objective was to give citizens that participated the knowledge, understanding, about what our police officers have to go through each and everyday. The procedures they go through, issues they have to deal with on a daily basis, some of the dos and donts , you might say, of police work,” says Chief Bart Aguirre.

Participants in the course agreed to undergo a background check, and to attend at least 80 percent of the classes. While the course gave students a better understanding of the policies and procedures for police work, it is also a way to strengthen ties between the community and law enforcement officers.

This class was a diverse mix, including journalists, pastors, a city council member, and community activists.

Graduates of the 2016 Citizen’s Police Academy say they have a much better understanding of the many aspects of law enforcement.

“I thought they were apples and we were oranges but I found out we were in this thing together and got a lot of ideas on how to be supportive and my new lapel pin on, the thin blue line, that’s just the start,” says Pastor Doug Greenway.

“It has been a very learning experience for me and as a councilman that will make me more knowledgeable of what goes on day to day in law enforcement portion of our city,” says Tupelo Councilwoman Nettie Davis.

“We need an in depth review of what police do, why they do what they do, instead of just jumping to conclusions,” says Julia Davidson.

“It has really shocked me how mainstream media has done past few years with really villianizing police, so I wanted to be up close and personal with my police department,” says Penny Young.

Administrators say they plan to hold another Citizen’s Police Academy next year

Categories: Local News

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