Henderson Police Department is, once again, offering its annual Citizen’s Police Academy.
This year’s program dates will be Feb. 6 through April 30 and classes are held from 7 - 10 p.m. on Thursday evenings at the Henderson Police Department. Program participants will receive a certification upon completion of the course.
The 12-week course was initiated in 1997 under the leadership of Chief Randy Freeman. In 2009, Lt. Kenny Byrd, who went on to become Deputy Chief, took over the program.
In 1999, former trainees created the CPA Alumni Association. This dedicated group of former students handles fundraising for the course and provides refreshments for all ongoing classes.
Citizens who become members of the Alumni Association are allowed to participate in ride-alongs with current HPD officers and are, on occasion, asked to assist the department with the manning of barricades and similar tasks.
On the intended goal of the course, Lt. Jesse Reese, the Citizen’s Police Academy public liaison officer, said, “It educates the individual as to exactly what we do and what the penal code says we can and can’t do.”
The intention is to help the public understand the reasoning behind all law enforcement decisions and to offer a glimpse into all stages of the process of law.
Representatives from various other law enforcement offices, from Animal Control to the District Attorney’s office, will speak to trainees about the part they play in the dispensation of justice. Students will be given the chance to perform a traffic stop and spend a day at the gun range, firing a selection from the myriad of weapons utilized by the HPD. This course is hands-on so new trainees are expected to dress accordingly.
For those wishing to be a part of this year’s course, applications are available at the Henderson Police Department and the Chamber of Commerce.