Police officers understand that often their interaction with the public is during high-stress times, so the Murray Police Department and other forces reach out to explain more about what they are trained to do in an eight-week Citizens' Police Academy with night classes through March and April. On Sounds Good, Sergeant David Howe and Kate Lochte do an overview of the course, which includes the basics of police work, a tour of the 911 call-center, understanding drug investigations, demystifying criminology, a tour of the jail and more.
Sgt. Howe says the main goal of the Citizens Police Academy is to educate people about what goes on in the police department. People often see what police do in TV shows or in the media, so this is an opportunity to decode some of the myths and gain some understanding at the local level.
- Week 1: Introductions and the 911 Coordinator Rick Harris talks about how 911 works and how dispatches work
- Week 2: Sergeant Howe teaches basics of police work - from what is on the belt to how does an investigation work, from the time the officer is sent out to the time it goes to court. He'll go over various crimes and and misdemeanors, etc.
- Week 3: The narcotics officer gives a presentation on drug investigations, from drug abuse to warning signs for meth labs and dangers
- Week 4: A certified criminalist (the real life CSI), gives a presentation on the real world experience of crime scene investigations with a case profile of a real crime in Murray. Sgt. Howe says he's seen variations of this presentation before and they're different because new techniques are always being developed. He says this is probably one of the biggest areas of misconception, due to portrayals on television.
- Week 5: A traffic accident reconstructionist talks about accident investigations. Also, students will meet a polygraph operator and can try the test (they won't ask embarrassing questions).
- Week 6: A tour of the jail, which Sgt. Howe says is usually very eye-opening. Also it will be the first time the new jailor Ken Claud gives the tour.
- Week 7: Legal night. Judge David Buckingham, an appellate court justice from the Kentucky Court of Appeals, talks about the court room procedure
- (Optional): A Saturday trip to the range to observe and try some of the weapons on the force. Also, there will be a K-9 demonstration with Tiko, a Belgian Malinois.
- Week 8: A presentation on less lethal uses of force: batons, pepper spray, taser. Captain Chris Scott instructs the taser demonstration and people can volunteer to be tased. Sgt. Howe says in all but one class at least one person has volunteered.
To enroll, you can download the application here from the Murray Police website. Or email Sgt. David Howe at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 270-762-1052. To qualify, you must be at least 21 years old and live or work around Murray. He encourages Murray State Students to take the class, especially criminal justice and journalism students. The courses will be held in the Murray City Hall council chambers.
Murray Police Sergeant Dave Howe coordinates the Spring 2015 Citizens' Police Academy beginning March 9 and running through April 27.