3rd Citizens Police Academy to graduate today
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 by Justin Cox
They may not be taking to the streets to protect and serve, but the knowledge of these police graduates will undoubtedly help the community, and help each other in the process.
The third installment of the Belton Citizens Police Academy will graduate today at 306 N. Blair St. in Belton.
Belton Police Chief Gene Ellis instituted the first such academy two years ago in order to shed light on what the department really does each and every day, as well as have a few extra eyes in the community.
The 10-week course, which got under way in January, provides an overview of the police department and provides information on such topics as use of force, narcotics, building searches, traffics stops and criminal investigation.
"It's a program designed to promote understanding through education, learn what it's like to walk in a police officer's shoes," he said. "And there's an education for us by learning what the expectations for the community are. We take a non-traditional approach to it – very little classroom and a whole lot of hands-on activities."
Those taking the course include men and women who range in age from late 20s to 70s.
Students included business people, city officials, retirees and others.
Topics ranged over that period of time from crime scene investigations, the various levels of utilization of force, and forensics. Additionally, classes included hands-on experience with police equipment like tasers, simulated firearms range shooting, and performing a building search.
Each student was also required during the course to do a ride-along with a Belton police officer on the job that ranged in length from a minimum of four hours to a suggested eight.
Chief Ellis, who has run such academies previously, expressed the importance of hands on application in learning, explaining that his class is about doing rather than seeing.