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Learning about the blue: Rowlett Citizens Police Academy now recruiting
Members of the Rowlett Citizens Police Academy class No. 30 pose during a class session. The academy gives residents hands-on experience about what the Rowlett police do on a daily basis. The academy is currently enrolling for its upcoming class, which will begin Feb. 28. / Photo courtesy of the Rowlett Police Department
The Rowlett Police Department created a citizens police academy to allow the community to get an insight into the way the department works. The next session of the academy will begin on Thursday, Feb. 28.
"The main purpose of the academy is to educate the public and get their support," said Greg Baldwin, the officer in charge of the academy. "We want to show them how we really operate, which is much different than what they see depicted on TV."
The Rowlett Police Department's Citizens Police Academy held its first session in the spring of 1998 and has been held twice yearly since inception, with participation from more than 300 citizens to date.
"When we began the academy it was meant to gain citizen support and a realistic understanding of just what we do," Baldwin said. "We believe the people we get to go through the academy get a good education. The best aspect for us is we are building a partnership with the community."
The academy is an 11-week course that will show each participant various aspects of the department. Participants will learn about the code enforcement department, communications department, crime scene unit, criminal investigations division, crisis negotiation team, detention services, patrol division, records section, SWAT team and the traffic division.
"They really get to see all aspects of the police department," Baldwin said.
As part of the academy, participants will have a couple of hands-on opportunities, including an evening at the shooting range and a driving course.
"At the gun range, they will get to see how we train and will get to try a couple of the weapons we use, out under the supervision of the range master," Baldwin said.
Participants will also get to do a ridealong with an officer on patrol.
The academy will meet each Thursday during the 11 weeks from 7 to 10 p.m. The location will depend on the size of the class. If the class is small enough, it will be held at the Rowlett Police Department. If the class is larger than 20 people, it will be held at the Rowlett Community Centre.
"We typically try and get at least 20 people to participate. We can handle up to 40 people," Baldwin said.
Class registration will be open from Monday, Feb. 7, through Friday, Feb. 18. To learn about the program or to enroll, contact Greg Baldwin at 972-412-6242.
Upon graduation from the academy, participants are eligible to join the Volunteers in Police Services (VIPS). Completion of the academy is mandatory to join VIPs.
"The VIPs are invaluable to the police department. We have a lot of people in it that are diverse in their backgrounds," Baldwin said.
Some of the duties performed by the VIPs include writing handicapped tickets, performing house checks for people on vacation, participating in neighborhood patrols and helping with administrative duties at the police department.
When: Monday, Feb. 7, through Friday, Feb. 18.
Contact: To learn about the program or to enroll, contact Greg Baldwin at 972-412-6242.