Citizen's Police Academy Offered
Published 3:41 pm Tuesday, January 15, 2013
FARMVILLE – Applications are now being accepted for the Town of Farmville's first-ever Citizen's Police Academy.
Get a police officers'-eye view of law enforcement with the Farmville Police Department.
The deadline for applications is February 15 and there will be space for 15 students in the program, which will feature nine two-hour sessions, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday nights, March 7 through May 2.
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The Citizen's Police Academy, extremely popular across the Commonwealth, is free and open to anyone over the age of 18 who lives or works in Farmville or is a member of a Farmville civic organization.
The program's goal is to continue building and strengthening the relationship, creating understanding, between the police department and the public it serves.
“It's something a lot of other agencies are trying and to be honest with you I have yet to hear anyone say anything bad about them,” Farmville Police Detective C. W. Moss said. “Every agency that does them, that puts them on, has reported nothing but great things from it.”
The program is so popular in Chesterfield there is a waiting list.
“A long list of people waiting to get into it,” Moss said.
The weekly sessions, classroom instruction and practical exercises, will involve as many of the department's officers as possible, with topics to include DUI enforcement, criminal law, forensics, traffic enforcement, courtroom testimony, special operations, and participants will be encouraged to sign up for a ride-a-long, too.
“It's not going to be a requirement but we are going to throw it out there to do a ride-along,” Moss said. “We give you an application the very first night and encourage you…We'll get you hooked up with dayshift, nightshift, whatever you want to do. We'll get you hooked up with an officer and you can actually go out and do a ride-along. “
What participants will learn is that the presentation of law enforcement on television is packaged for entertainment. The Citizen's Police Academy will interest and inform, but it will be reality-based. Farmville reality.
“TV, a lot of times, has distorted what we do,” Detective Moss said.
The session on traffic enforcement will include a radar demonstration, including the gear taken by officers to make sure their radar equipment is working properly.
“We'll be explaining how we actually check it during the actual violation,” the police detective said. “They'll realize that when we write a speeding ticket it's an actual violation.”
Strengthening the relationship between the police and the community is important.
“I've said for the last couple of years, we can't do our job without the help of the citizens. Yeah, can we go out here on our shift and we can initiate some things but a lot of what we do-especially on the investigative side of it, we get a crime that we're investigating, we're interviewing people, we're counting on our citizens if they've seen something to come talk to us about it,” the investigator explained. “When you're bridge that gap…it makes it easier for those citizens to say, 'Yeah, I'm going to sit down and talk to these guys. I understand why they're doing those things.' It makes it easier for them to reach out to us.
“Maybe someone doesn't see us on a day-to-day basis. Now someone will sit in this class one night a week and you develop a rapport with them…and they're not intimidated by you, because there's nothing to be intimidated about,” Detective Moss said. “We're not here to intimidate anyone. But maybe they'll say, 'Yeah, I know that guy; let me give him a call and tell him 'this is what we saw.' So I think it's a way we're bridging that gap, we're gaining the trust of the citizens.”
Filling in the gaps and blanks of understanding.
“It could be this way with any job. If you don't understand why the electrician's doing what he's doing,” he pointed out, “it baffles you and you wonder about it. Same way with us. If folks don't understand why we're doing it they may not support us…but now that they do it's easy for them to support us.”
Detective Moss is looking forward to participation by many of the department's officers who will share their own special law enforcement expertise.
After Chief Mooney is featured on the first night, he noted, “for the rest of the sessions I've got as many officers as I can get that are willing to do it because I want these people to see more than me. I'm not the department. They may see my name in the paper or hear my name on the radio, but I'm not the department. I've said it many times-I'm one of 28 people that make this place run and one of us can't do it alone. So I want folks to see who their police officers are.”
Applications for the Citizen's Police Academy are available in person at the police department or by visiting the department's website at www.farmvilleva.com and navigating via the department and public safety tabs.
For more information, contact Detective Moss at 434-392-2109.