Inside the PD: Enrollment opens for police Citizen Academy

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HURRICANE – After an initial test run with hand-picked residents, the Hurricane City Police Department is starting its 12-week Citizen Academy, designed to educate residents on the inner workings of the department and open to any residents who would like to apply.

Sgt. Brandon Buell, charged with organizing the program, said some of its aims are making the Police Department more transparent and providing residents with a glimpse of what the department does, leading to a better relationship with residents. The program will begin Sep. 16 and run through Dec. 9.

The academy’s goals are to educate residents on what goes into the city’s police work, including its SWAT team, Drug Task Force, Animal Control, bike patrol and others. Attendees will also learn about the use of force, Buell said.

Classes will run for three hours on Wednesday evenings, and participants must be 18 years or older. The majority of the academy takes place in the classroom, but some classes take attendees other places, including on tours of the jail, also giving them a chance to do fingerprinting.

While Buell has taken the lead on the academy, several other employees assist in teaching. Ride-alongs are not part of the program, Buell said, but participants are encouraged to go on ride-alongs with officers for a firsthand look at the work of a police officer.

One of the aims of the first group to participate in the Citizen Academy was evaluating the program. The feedback from the trial class was very positive, Buell said. All the people who attended the trial run of the academy said it was an eye-opener, giving them a sense of exactly what goes into running the Police Department. Some attendees even said they would enjoy going through the academy again because it is so much information to process.

Buell said the department hopes some of the Citizen Academy graduates will want to get involved further in police work, such as becoming Volunteers in Police Service, or VIPS.

Mayor John Bramall and members of the Hurricane City Council have been extremely supportive of the program, Buell said. Councilwoman Pam Humphries was one of the graduates of its first class.

The department hopes to run the academy twice a year from now on.

“We’re excited,” Buell said. “We’re fully committed to putting this program on.”

It’s a way the Police Department can give back to the community, Buell said. The department’s hope is the academy sparks curiosity and interest in it will grow.

A total of 25 people can participate in the program. Residents who apply will have to undergo a background check. Hurricane residents interested in attending the academy can pick up an application at the Police Department or call 435-635-9663 for more information.

Event details

  • What: Hurricane City Police Department Citizen Academy
  • When: Wednesdays at 6 p.m. weekly, Sept. 16-Dec. 9
  • Where: Hurricane City Police Department, 90 S. 700 West, Hurricane
  • Contact: Telephone 435-635-9663

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