The Cookeville Police Department is planning to hold another "Citizens Academy" next month, but officials say those interested in the program must sign up by this Friday. Since April 1995, the Academy has provided members of the community with an inside look at law enforcement. The Academy is designed to provide participants with an understanding of the operations and resources of the Cookeville Police Department and its various functions within the community. It also functions as a forum for citizens to provide feedback and make relevant suggestions to the department.
Spokesman Sheila Julian said, "The goal of the Citizens Academy is to provide a greater awareness and understanding between our department and the citizens we serve. We want to take you 'behind the scenes' to show you what an officer's life is really like: from the excitement of catching the bad guy to the frustrations of dealing with repeat offenders. We would like you to see the tasks we face every day and why we handle situations the way that we do. With this better understanding, we believe it becomes easier for police and citizens to work together in solving community problems."
The Cookeville Police Department traditionally offers two classes per year: one in the spring and one in the fall. The class covers a variety of topics and meets one night a week for 10 weeks, from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. and one Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until approximately 2:00 p.m.
Each class is designed to provide students with an insight into the various divisions and functions of the department. Several different officers instruct these classes to provide the students with a true representation of the officers of the department. The Academy incorporates hands-on training when possible for a more realistic experience for the student as well as "ride-alongs" in which students ride with officers during routine patrol.
To date, more than 450 participants have graduated the Citizens Academy, and many continue to be active in the Citizens Police Academy Alumni. The Fall 2010 session begins on September 13 and will meet each Monday night at 6:00 p.m. for the next ten weeks. The cost for the entire course is $35 per student. Deadline to register for the class is Friday August 20, 2010.
If you are interested in attending the next session of the Citizens Academy, you must be at least 21 years old, have no prior felony arrests, and no misdemeanor arrests within one year of application. To register for this class or for more information, call Sheila Julian at 520-5307.