Police Dept. to hold another community academy

Published 2:35 pm Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Community members are invited to apply for the second Community Police Academy under the Picayune Police Department.

Last year the department held its first such academy, where community members learned some of the details of being a police officer and how the department works.

The sessions take place once a week for 12 weeks with each week featuring a new topic. Public Information Officer Capt. Chad Dorn said this year’s academy will feature all of the topics covered in last year’s academy, which included evidence collection and storage, fingerprinting, use of Tasers, shoot or don’t shoot scenarios, videos from real police chases that occurred in this county, patrol operations and investigations operations.

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A day is also dedicated to the operations at the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department where that department shows “cadets” its SWAT team, K-9 division and gives “cadets” an opportunity to tour the county jail.

“It offers the community an inside look into the department and how we operate,” Dorn said.

Attendance at the academy is free, but requires a background check. Dorn said the academy is set to start in September, with the actual start date to be announced. Approved cadets will attend a three-hour class, 6-9 p.m., on Tuesdays for 12 weeks, Dorn said.

Citizens on Patrol member and director Sheila Hansen attended last year’s academy, and said that even though she’s been volunteering at the department for some time, attending the community academy gave her a “wonderful learning experience.”

“I think everybody should take this class and understand how the department functions,” Hansen said.

“It’s another step in promoting community involvement with the department,” Chief Bryan Dawsey said.

Only 30 spots are available for the academy, which will be filled on a first come-first serve basis. Dorn said applications can be picked up from the Criminal Justice Center on Main Street, or can be printed out from the department’s web site at http://www.picayunepolicedepartment.com/citizensonpatrol.htm. After entering the web address click on the red text that reads Citizens Police Academy Application, and a download window will open. Computer users will need Adobe reader or a similar program to open the pdf file.

Dorn said the deadline to turn in applications is Aug. 12, to allow enough time to conduct the background check.