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Citizen Police Academy set to return in 2022
Sign-up deadline for free SPD course is Sept. 20
At a previous Citizens Police Academy, Elaine Norton does her best to hold off an attacking APO Kyle Briley with her baton. Deadline to register for the 2022 Citizens Police Academy is Sept. 20.
At a previous Citizens Police Academy, Elaine Norton does her best to hold off an attacking APO Kyle Briley with her baton. Deadline to register for the 2022 Citizens Police Academy is Sept. 20. - photo by By SCOTT BRYANT/staff

How do police officers protect themselves during traffic stops? What steps do they take during crime investigations? What procedures do they take should an active shooter take hostages in a school or other building?

Answers to those questions and more will be available to members of the public who register to participate in a free course set to begin Sept. 28, but the deadline to register is Sept. 20. 

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Statesboro Police Department is offering an opportunity for people interested in real-life policing to get hands-on experience and education during its Citizens Police Academy. 

According to Statesboro Police Chief Mike Broadhead, people who sign up for the academy will spend two hours, one night a week, learning about use of force, traffic, duties of the department’s Impact Team, patrol scenarios, investigations, SWAT, the K9 Unit, and building clearings.

Participants also will ride along one night with an officer on duty and experience what a typical night on the job is like, Broadhead said.

The classes were not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the pandemic, but Broadhead said his department is ready to welcome people to the 2022 Citizen’s Police Academy. 

“We have been offering a Citizen's Police Academy since approximately 2014,” he said. “In 2018 we (also) offered a clergy-specific course, and at least twice we have had junior versions for teens.”

There are often misconceptions about police work, Broadhead said. The Academy attempts to show the public some of what officers actually encounter during their shifts, how they deal with problems, what takes place during investigations and how civilians can help be vigilant. The course, in the past, has taught people why officers touch suspects’ cars when they approach a stopped car; the proper way to use tasers, firearms and other equipment; and reasons they do certain things in handling traffic or emergency situations, such as active shooters or weather emergencies.

In short, it allows civilian members to get to know police officers better, and vice versa. 

“Citizen's Academies are a great way for us to forge relationships with members of our community,” Broadhead said.  “They really are a two-way street. We get to provide our citizens with a glimpse into the inner workings of the police department, and in return we get to learn from citizens about concerns they have, see things through their eyes, etc.

“The lasting benefit is that we get to know individuals in our community on a different level, and they get to meet and know officers in a non-enforcement setting. The importance of those relationships cannot be emphasized enough.” 

Some of the course will be held in a classroom setting, but there will be scenarios in which the civilians get to enact and interact directly with officers.

“In our CA, citizens will get to ride with an officer for a shift. They will learn in a controlled setting how traffic stops look from the officer's point of view, and they will get to understand the steps in searching a crime scene and collecting evidence,” Broadhead said. “Throughout the weeks, they will get to hear first-hand from the officers out doing the day-to-day job on their behalf, and the officers will get to hear what's important to the citizens.” 

Each class is limited in number, so he encourages people to register quickly. 

Held on Wednesday nights from 6-8 p.m. at the Statesboro Police Department at 25 West Grady Street in Statesboro, the course is free and dinner is served, he said. The course will run from Sept. 28–Nov. 2. 

The deadline to receive applications is Sept. 20. The application can be found online at) http://statesboropd.com/.../Citizens-Police-Academy-2022. or can be picked up from the Statesboro Police Department.  

Anyone with questions may reach Statesboro Police Communications Officer Sara Sutton at (912) 212-2356, (912) 764-9911 or at sara.sutton@statesboroga.gov.  

 

Holli Deal Saxon is a Herald writer. She may be reached at (912) 243-7815. 

 

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