Anyone who’s ever wondered what a police officer’s day looks like will have the opportunity to get a peek through the Mount Pleasant Police Department’s first citizens academy.
Participation in the citizens academy is free thanks, in part, to a $2,500 grant from Walmart for the department’s Community Oriented Policing activities, Chief Tim Zarzecki said, and the citizens academy is just another way for MPPD to connect with the community.
“We’re really looking forward to this experience,” he said. “We’ve already been asked how often we’ll do this, and it depends a lot on the response we get for this first academy. If interest is high, we’ll look at running another one next spring.”
Zarzecki and his officers have been talking for the last few years about organizing a citizen’s academy, but the timing wasn’t right. But now, with a COP program underway through the Mead Street COP house and the assignment of designated officers in the Lakeside neighborhood, plus the grant from Walmart, he added, staff finally had the time to plan the program.
In addition to learning more about various types of investigations and firearms training, participants will also experience police officer driving techniques. Guest speakers from agencies that work with police will make presentations so citizens can discover more about probation and parole, the duties of Wisconsin State Patrol and the victim witness department of the court system, and how a case progresses through the legal system in Racine County.
“This training is not designed to certify citizens to perform law enforcement services. This training is to provide the community with a better understanding of the responsibilities a Police Officer has in their day-to-day role in the Village of Mount Pleasant,” a press release from the department reads.
The academy is scheduled to begin Sept. 15 and run through Nov. 17. Residents will attend weekly meetings on Tuesday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and two Saturday sessions for more hands-on experience in certain areas.
Only 20 applicants will be accepted into the program with consideration given first to Mount Pleasant residents. If there aren’t enough applicants to fill spots, citizens from other communities will be allowed to attend.