Anyone who is curious about the how the police serve Davis can get a first-hand opportunity to see for him or herself. The Davis Police Department is hosting the Citizen Police Academy, an annual tradition.
The Citizen Police Academy is a free seven-week crash course that aims to educate the public in police procedures and protocol. The course includes topics such as laws of arrest, search and seizure, crime scene investigation, juvenile programs, gangs, traffic enforcement, crime prevention and methods of combating driving under the influence.
“People who attend appear to end up being very enlightened for [the course].” said DPD Public Information Officer Lt. Thomas Waltz. “There may also be a demonstration by SWAT this year too.”
Police Service Specialist Michele Reynolds, who handles safety at major city public events such as Picnic Day, coordinates the academy.
“This is for the community,” Reynolds said. “People get to find out how the Davis Police Department works; there can be a lot of speculation. Also this course is mandatory for anyone wishing to serve as a volunteer for the police department.”
Volunteers work with the Davis police in issues ranging from neighborhood watch coordination to parking infractions.
“There are still spaces available for this year’s academy,” Reynolds said.
The course will begin Feb. 17 and end Apr. 7. The classes will be held Wednesday nights from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Police officers serve as the instructors and do all lectures on Powerpoint to save paper.
“This is a low cost project to the city,” Reynolds said. “Officers who participate do so on flex time, meaning that they take a day to teach and have a different day taken off from their regular schedule. Officers don’t get overtime to teach the course.”
The course is geared towards adults, but anyone who is at least 16 tears old may participate with parental consent. Participants are required to be free from any felony convictions or active warrants for their arrest.
“There is also a youth academy which is more of a day camp situation,” Waltz said.
Reynolds coordinates the two-week youth academy every summer for young adults ages 13 or older.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Reynolds said. “We set up crime scenes for the kids; they get SWAT instruction followed by a paint ball tournament. It is really a stepping stone for young adults interested in the cadet program.”
Participants learn calisthenics every morning, wear uniforms and learn to address their instructors like the older cadets – “Yes, sir” or “Yes, ma’am.”
“I think it’s great. There can be trust issues between law enforcement and the public especially in a student town, especially after the protest activity on campus,” said Kate Darfler, a senior English major. “It also shows that the community is willing to be involved by signing up, and it’s free, so that’s great.”
Applications are still available for both programs. Please visit cityofdavis.org/police/cpa.cfm or contact Police Service Specialist Michele Reynolds at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAMUEL A. COHEN can be reached at email@example.com.