Daniel Hayes, Staff Writer
Starting Wednesday, Nov. 1, and running for the next six weeks, Georgia Southern Police department will be offering a Citizens Police Academy at the Armstrong campus. Every Wednesday night from 7 to 8 p.m., students can participate in lecture type course covering the finer points of policing.
The goal of the academy is to create a “nucleus of well-informed citizens who possess a greater insight into police practices and services,” as stated in the email sent around to students. The course will cover such topics as criminal and constitutional law, use of force, traffic and DWI enforcement, forensics and even firearms training. Students will not be given a gun, but rather informed of when and how an officer is trained to use a gun.
According to Theresa Davis of the Georgia Southern Police Department, Armstrong precinct, the goal of the program is to foster a relationship between officers and citizens. “We want to show that not all interactions with police have to be negative, the officers are here to help,” Davis says.
This will be the first such academy offered on Armstrong’s campus. In the past, the Armstrong Police department has offered other training programs on campus including the Rape Aggression Defense System (RADS) class and the Defense and Tactical Education (DATE) class. However, the Citizens Police Academy will be the first of its kind offered on campus. It is the first of what the Police departments hopes will be many opportunities for community outreach between the students and the officers.
Although this may be the first such program at Armstrong, the Statesboro Police department has offered a similar program for many years. The engagement in the program is so strong in Statesboro that there is even an alumni program for past Citizens Police Academy graduates. These alumni, according to Madison Warren communication information specialist and coordinator of the Citizens Police Academy for the Statesboro Police Department, have come back to assist in future academies and even help with community outreach such as 5k’s and parades.
A Citizens Police Academy can be an opportunity for someone interested in becoming a police officer to familiarize themselves with the profession. The primary goal of Citizen Police Academy is community engagement. not recruitment.
When a future officer is found, though, Warren explains it as “a cherry on top.” If you have ever wondered what an officer does when he or she is not writing you a ticket, come on out the Citizens Police Academy and find out for yourself. There may even be a chance to help or join the Police force moving forward.
Spots are filling up fast so don’t hesitate to email Theresa Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org with the Armstrong Police Department.