Do you want to be part of something exciting and fun? Do you want to know what your police department is doing? Have you ever wondered how you could get more involved in the community and police department?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then we want you. The Durango Police Department is proud to offer its 18th session of the Citizens’ Police Academy. Classes will be held at 6:30 p.m. every Thursday for 11 weeks. They will begin March 11. Classes usually end by 9:30 p.m.
The Citizens’ Police Academy is a way for the Durango Police Department to reach out to citizens and foster long-lasting relationships that are crucial to our survival. We truly understand that we cannot be as effective without your help. During the course of this program, participants who are selected get to know and understand various aspects of law enforcement and the inner workings of the Durango Police Department.
There are many different topics that are covered, which include information about patrol functions, accident investigations, traffic stops, domestic violence calls and prevention, SWAT team operations, and community programs. We spend time talking about the history of the department and the vision for our future. Participants are able to spend time with hands-on instruction like firearms and arrest control. Classes for firearms are held at the police range, and participants are allowed to shoot a variety of law-enforcement weapons under the close expert supervision of a range master. You will also be introduced to tools and training philosophies used by the department’s SWAT team. As an option, class members can participate in an unarmed self-defense session as well. Instruction is given by a variety of officers throughout the department. These men and women are highly skilled and well-versed in their areas of expertise and instruction. This class will not train you to be a police officer, but it will give you an overall understanding of what it takes to be a police officer.
Probably the most exciting and fun part of the academy is participating in ride-alongs. This gives you the opportunity to be on patrol with officers from the department and see what they face every day. You get to see the news as it happens instead of reading about it later. Nothing fosters more trust and understanding for an agency than letting its citizens see first-hand how it functions, and we welcome that. You can also sit in at Central Dispatch and learn how 911 calls are received and dispatched.
Now that you know more, what are you waiting for? We want to fill up these classes and look for participants from all walks of life throughout the community. The classes fill up fast and class size is limited, so pick up an application today. They are available at the police department or online at www.DurangoGov.org. For more information, call Sgt. Dave Peterson at 375-4742.
Lt. Ray Shupe is assistant operations division commander with the Durango Police Department.