As tension between Police Officers and citizens is reported across the country, the Johnson City Police Department is continuing a program to help educate the public about what goes into patrolling the community.
This week, the Johnson City Police Department graduated its 44th class from the Citizen Police Academy.
Chief Mark Sirois said the Citizen Police Academy (CPA) began more than 20 years ago.
“What we wanted to do was open up those lines of communication and invite citizens in to our department and into the law enforcement profession,” Sirois said.
Over the course of 9 weeks, folks in the class learn about the different facets of police work, and get a little hands on training.
“We do everything from demonstrations of our bomb squad, swat team, special units, to drug enforcement, to some of the crimes we investigate. We try and introduce the participants in the CPA to the entire spectrum of what we do in modern law enforcement,” Sirois said.
Those who took the class, came away with a favorite memory.
“We got to shoot the automatic guns, i’ve never shot, that was really good experience, we had a shooting competition, it was a lot of fun,” said Brooke Turner.
While Mary Grooms enjoyed the class about traffic stops. “It was so unpredictable of what goes on out there. i just couldn’t believe all the different scenarios,” she said.
While some participants took the class out of curiosity, others are using it to get their first taste of law enforcement.
“I want a career in law enforcement, I figure this is a good way to get some knowledge, experience, just anything I can possibly get to help me,” Turner said.
“My father was chief of police in my hometown when i was little, i just looked up to him and that’s what i always wanted to do,” said Robert Martin.
Even with a background in law enforcement, Martin said the CPA provided a few surprises.
“Johnson City does an excellent job of getting into the community with some of the programs. They really care about the community. I knew law enforcement was here to serve and protect, but what they do in the community is amazing,” he said.
“It’s been an eye-opener, it was a very informative class, i have a whole new respect for police officer,” Grooms told us.
The department is now gearing up for its Junior Police Academy, a week long course (July 27-31) offered to kids between the ages of 14-18.
JCPD will also offer another CPA during the fall.
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