In an effort to shed light on all aspects of law enforcement, the Murray Police Department will host the Citizens’ Police Academy.
The academy is accepting applications for the spring 2015 classes, set to begin March 9.
“Many people don’t know what police do unless they are dealing with something bad, an accident or something negative,” said Sergeant David Howe. “Folks don’t call the police to give us good news. Someone’s always having a bad day when they have to call the police.”
The program was developed 10 years ago by Maj. Jim Osbourne. Murray State students of all majors have attended, not just criminal justice students.
Participants have a chance to learn about narcotics investigations, crime scene investigation, polygraph testing, a K-9 demonstration, the criminal justice system and more.
The program has appealed to a variety of people within the community.
Jane Shoemaker, city council member, attended the program in summer 2013.
“We need to have people learning the facts, getting the real experience and the real truth so they can take that information and have that understanding of why police do what they do,” she said.
Alissa Luebbers, junior from Mascoutah, Ill., said she would recommend the program because the classes are fun and helpful for everyone.
“Programs for citizens can be extremely helpful because they are letting the townspeople who want to feel protected and comfortable with their city police to receive the chance to fully understand what it is like to be in their shoes,” Luebbers said.
Howe said the overall mission of the program is to educate citizens. It is not intended as a pre-employment tool, although some former attendants have gone on to join the police force.
“After going through the program, I always thank an officer for their service when I see them,” Shoemaker said.
An application must be submitted in order to be accepted into the program.
Paper copies can be picked up from the department headquarters on Poplar Street, or they can be found and downloaded online from www.murrayky.gov.
The academy is free of charge.
Applicants must be at least 21 and subjected to a brief background check.
Meetings are set to be held at 6:30 p.m. on Mondays and the sessions begin March 9 and last through April 27.
“Police are people too; they are just simply doing their jobs when they are on duty,” Luebbers said.
Story by Lucy Easley, Staff writer