The Public Safety Citizens' Academy is a free ten-week program designed to educate local residents about public safety operations. During previous classes, participants learned about the Columbus Police Department Bomb Squad, SWAT Team, Criminal Investigations, Narcotics/Vice Units and K-9 divisions. Participants will be provided presentations that feature the police dogs and their handlers in the K-9 unit
Last year, the participants got the chance to fire police weapons at the Police Department’s firing range and use the Columbus Fire Department’s equipment to cut open a wrecked vehicle in a mock extrication scenario and put out an actual fire using a fire extinguisher.
“The Citizens' Academy is a great way to connect with our residents and show them what we do and how we do it,” Columbus Police Chief Jon Rohde said. “We let them have the same experiences as our City police officers and firefighters, from riding along on patrols to putting out fires.”
About 780 local residents have completed the Citizens’ Academy since it started in the mid-1990s. CPD Sgt. Matt Harris, one of the academy organizers, said last year’s academy class was one of the largest we have ever had. They asked in-depth questions and interacted well with each other and the presenters from the community’s public safety agencies.
Three year ago, the Columbus Fire Department and other agencies joined the Columbus Police Department to broaden the scope of courses taught as part of the academy. The academy also featured involvement from more police officers and firefighters than in years past, largely due to the example set by former Chief Jason Maddix and Columbus Fire Chief Dave Allmon. The chiefs and all officers who present for the academy volunteer their time.
“ Residents get the unique experience of gearing up as firefighters and performing some of the same duties we do every day,” Chief Allmon said. “As firefighters, we also benefit from the Citizens' Academy by getting to build a stronger relationship with our community. We are already looking forward to participating in the 2015 academy.”
The 2015 Public Safety Citizens' Academy will give residents the chance to learn more about public safety in Columbus and Barthlomew County. Questions about this program can be directed to Sgt. Matt Harris at 812-376-2605 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2015 Public Safety Citizens' Academy is scheduled for August 15th through October 13th. Classes will be held each Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. and will be limited to thirty particpants.