CITIZENS’ POLICE ACADEMY CLASS
“The CPA is 30 hour program intended to enhance understanding and cooperation between the citizens of Big Spring and Howard County and the personnel of the Big Spring Police Department,” said Brian Gordon, Administrative Lieutenant of the BSPD.
The Academy is designed to give participants a “tip of the iceberg” overview of the tasks, responsibilities and procedures of the men and women serving in local law enforcement. It is an opportunity for citizens to hear from officers in various functions of police work such as: Dispatch, Records, Animal Control, Recruiting and Training, Patrol Operations, Criminal and Narcotics Investigations, Crime Scene Processing, Crime Stoppers and SWAT functions. Robust question and answer sessions are encouraged throughout the program. Few questions are considered off-limits, and participants receive the most honest, straightforward answers available, from the people most qualified to give them.
Many of the sessions are hands-on exercises that provide the participants with opportunities to step into the role of the police officer and handle various situations officers are called upon to deal with daily. “Participants also spend a working shift riding in a patrol car with an on-duty officer to gain a first hand perspective of a day in the life of a local Cop,” explains Gordon. Historically, this is one of the aspects of the program enjoyed by all of the participants.
The program will also introduce participants to the Volunteer in Police Service (VIPS) group. Representatives of this group will attend and assist with the classroom activities. According to Marvin Boyd, President of VIPS, “We are an active group who assist the BSPD and HCSO with activities such as traffic control for parades and other activities, the house watch program and monitoring handicap parking violations.” Graduation from the CPA will qualify participants to join the VIPS group. Boyd encourages all past and future graduates of the CPA to consider joining the volunteer group. “We have a real need for additional volunteers so we can provide more assistance to our Law Enforcement Officers,” states Boyd.
Since its inception in 1994, the CPA has provided a forum wherein citizens and police can exchange information and viewpoints. “We have found that this exchange benefits the participants, the officers and instructors, the Department and the community in general,” Gordon said. The community comes to a better understanding of the often-conflicting expectations and requirements placed on law enforcement and law enforcement comes to a better understanding of the expectations of their community.
“Over the years, as a result of this exchange, the department has modified some of its practices and procedures to better meet the needs and desires of the citizens. In turn we have seen an increased acceptance of our role in the community and have enjoyed a more open dialog with its members,” adds Chad Williams, Chief of Police.
For an application to attend the Citizens Police Academy Click Here