Friday, September 05, 2008
Just call me ....Rambo
About 2 months ago, I had the opportunity to apply for this year's Citizens Police Academy taught by the local police department and justice system. I was accepted and very excited as they only take 16 applicants per year. Our city has 44,000 residents and when we graduate...(assuming they don't lock me up first) we will be 16 of 120 total graduates in the city since the program began in 2001. They used to do two classes a year but they decided to increase the weeks of requirement and then had to decrease to the once a year schedule. I am a member of class #9.
We meet every Thursday night for 3 hours+...and then have other exercises for Saturdays scheduled occassionally. When we ride along...that is also at different times than class. The course is 12 weeks long and I have just finished up my second week. Can I say I love this opportunity??? So far, the info presented to us is interesting, entertaining...(with all the war stories we get to hear) and educational.
Besides getting to know each sworn officer and department auxillary staff, I am learning more about our community ...its problems, and good things and am thinking of ways in which I can get involved after this program is over.
We all are gaining a better understanding of how our department works, is funded, and structured...and who is repsonsible for what... from Dispatch to investigation, to prevention to intervention, to hiring and internal affairs. We get to first hand experience what the department has available and how they function in the city.
I am really looking forward to the SWAT and gun range exercises as well as the ride alongs... we got a wonderful tour of dispatch and will also be allowed 1 on 1 time to observe a shift in dispatch.
Our city covers 29 square miles and is divided into 3 districts..each with their specific problem areas....major highways, malls, colleges (bars) etc.
I was also pleased to learn that our city department is one of only 500-600 police agencies nationwide to be accreditated through CALEA. (but it doesn't surprise me...the officers I have met so far are extremely professional and they demonstrate that everyday...whether they are on duty or not.
What has surprised me is the openness with which they speak. They told us they have nothing to hide...no little secrets that they don't want the public to know...if we have questions...they will answer us truthfully and find out the answers they don't know. Nothing is off limits. They, in fact, have expressed gratitude to us for giving up our time to learn about what they do.
Anyway...as you can see...by the photo, our text is jam packed with information to study in addition to what we are learning in class....3 inches worth ...divided into 12 week sessions. Lots of reading and preparation ..but I want to get the most out of this experience and so far it has been amazing. My fellow students range in age from 18-72 with most being in their 40's... they are teachers, accountants, intelligence officers from the base, 2 house wives, 2 current police academy students, a retired military chaplin, several civilian contract workers for the base, and me, a semi retired RN. There is one couple attending who have a son who is an officer in the department and they want to find out more about his job and what it entails as they say...."He doesn't talk about his job and they are curious".
I will try to keep this updated as I have more experiences to share...but a fair warning...
I am scheduled to do a ride along from 11 PM to 3 AM and then show up for fire arms practice at 9AM....LOL...THAT ought to be ......interesting ...after drinking coffee all night long to stay awake. (wink) can you imagine a middle aged female shooting a machine gun after 6 cups of coffee and no sleep? DUCK!!! I wonder if they have a tarp for the roof to keep the rain out after I am done......hehehehehe