MT. VERNON — An overview of the inner workings of the city police department will be presented during the 11th annual Citizens Police Academy.
The Academy is broken down into seven sessions, beginning Jan. 14, and continuing each Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Municipal West Building on Potomac Boulevard.
“It gives community members an in-depth look at each function of the police department,” said Officer Ray Gilbert, who is coordinating registration for the Academy. “We’re not just about black
and white patrol cars traveling around in neighborhoods. We have different divisions that officers are assigned to, and virtually every aspect of the police department will be covered at the Academy.”
The only eligibility requirements for those participating in the Academy is individuals must be 18 years of age or older and have a clear criminal record.
Classes will be held on Jan. 14, 21 and 28 and Feb. 4, 11, 18, and 25.
The class has a limit of 32 individuals. Gilbert said approximately 20 people have registered to date, which he blames on the poor December weather.
“I think with the weather it hasn’t filled as fast as it normally would,” Gilbert said.
He added, “We have been able to fill it every year. It’s very popular. It’s hard to get people interested, but once they attend, it gets 100 percent feedback.”
Some of the topics covered during the Academy include: telecommunications, traffic safety, senior protective services, crime scene investigations, internal investigations, patrol services, bicycle patrol, school resource officer, chaplain division, narcotic investigations, criminal and juvenile investigations, K-9, DARE, and the High Risk Team.
The crime scene investigations is one of the most popular topics for those who attend, according to Gilbert.
“They will tell everything that police do from start to finish,” he said. “We even have a night when we have the HRT give a demonstration. We have them come in full gear and bring the truck in and let them look inside to see what safety equipment and tactical equipment officers use.”
Gilbert said Mt. Vernon Police Department is one of the few around that offer the Academy to community members.
“It’s a great program and we’re one of the few department that does this for our community. And it’s not just sitting in a classroom. It’s very interactive and the night goes very fast,” he said.
Those interested in participating in the Citizens Police Academy may call 242-2131 to get an application or you may pick one up at the police department.