The Winchester Police Department celebrated its 20th Citizen’s Police Academy Tuesday night, when 24 citizens graduated from the program. The academy provides local citizens with an inside look at law enforcement operations in the city.
“It was eye opening to see what is happening in the Department and how police work with the community,” said Angela Hansen.
The 10-week program included 13 sessions on topics like criminal investigations, 911 communications, officer safety and court procedures, among others. Participants had demonstrations from the K-9 unit, Animal Control, SWAT Team, firearms safety, and a tour of the jail.
Graduates of this year’s academy included nonprofit leaders, business owners, retirees, and a Winchester city council member. The purpose is to educate citizens and develop positive relations between police and the community.
“With all the recent images and stories in the news, I have to admit, I was starting to question police officers,” said Sue Lessman. “But interfacing with the officers and seeing the human side of the badge went a long way in dispelling my fears,” she said.
This year’s class also included several aspiring law enforcement officers, including a high school student.
“This is definitely worth the investment in time,” said Jet Dayo. The Winchester resident said he wanted to learn the ins and outs of the police department so he can better communicate and educate his children about policing.
The fall academy ran September 20 – November 22, 2016. Graduates are eligible to apply to become a member of the Volunteers in Policing Program. The VIP’s assist the Police Department with special activities and community events, including fingerprinting children, crime prevention, security, handicap parking enforcement, and directing traffic.
Applications are currently being accepted for the 2017 Citizen’s Police Academy. The class is free, but space is limited, and you don’t need to be a city resident to attend. An application can be found at the police department’s website: http://winchesterpolice.org/citizen-police-academy. For more information, contact Detective William Griffith at (540) 545-7591 or William.email@example.com.