This Thursday will be my 4th class of the Urbandale (Iowa) Community Police Academy being offered once a year to Urbandale residents.
No, this doesn't mean a career change for me - however the thought had briefly crossed my mind.
Back in November, a friend of mine told me about this amazing opportunity to get involved with the community and to give back. By joining the CPA class, it also allows me to understand the way our police department works and to be a little more informed. There really is more to just speed traps and writing tickets.
According to the City of Urbandale website, the history of the class is as follows:
Citizen’s Police Academies have been around for several years across the nation. The purpose was to give the general public a better idea of how officers do their job, why they do their job the way they do and what the end results are for doing that job. Most of the general public has received what knowledge they have of police work from watching a host of police television shows and movies. Most crimes in real life are not solved in a thirty or sixty minute television show. Chief Ross McCarty wanted to make the Citizen’s Police Academy a priority of his police-community relations programs. The Urbandale Police Department held it’s first Citizen’s Police Academy in January 2010. There were seven graduates who attended weekly meetings and training for ten full weeks.
The class is broken up into 12 different nights of informational instruction. The first night, Chief McCarty spoke to us about the mission and goals of the Urbandale Police Force.
The 2nd week we got to meet the K9 unit and Sabre, the patrol dog. Let me tell you, he may look sweet and cuddly, but man does he do his job with passion. I got to see a staged dog attack wearing a muzzle and one attack with no muzzle just the bite suit. No thank you.
I always wondered why K9 units were so limited, but after seeing the extensive training that Sabre and his handler, Officer Taylor, have went through over the years - I can see why. The training is not cheap. Makes me rethink the tricks my farm dog, Toby knows and how he doesn't come close to Sabre. I better keep teaching him.
This past week we got to meet the School Resource Officer and get to see what he does and goes through on a daily basis. You want to talk about an eye opener on today's youth? Talk to your local SRO. It put into perspective all the school shootings that have happened since Columbine and how they are taking measures to avoid another massacre.
The community policing that is stressed in the department is a message being received among most residents. There is a National Night Out event that lets the community come out and meet the department. I joked that it could be a career change, but for me - I have found a few volunteer opportunities to give back to the community.
This Thursday is my next class, in which we will be going over the CSI division. This could be a good segway to star in the next CSI series, maybe this time CSI: Des Moines? It would be a pretty boring show, Des Moines is a great place to live.
If there is a Citizens Police Academdy class available in your community, I highly reccomend that you apply and attend it. It will open your eyes on how and what your local poilce force does for you.
I am looking forward to the firearms class where we get to go to the shooting range. Right now, it's time for me to sign up for my ride along.