FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Each year, the Springfield Police Department offers citizens the unique opportunity to get a taste of how their law enforcement agency and its many specialized units operate. A successful and interactive program called the Citizen’s Police Academy was re-initiated by Police Chief Paul Williams in 2011.
The application process for Springfield residents is now open, and students will be selected this summer to begin the 11-week academy in September. Classes are held one evening per week for approximately three hours. Topics covered in the academy will include crime scene processing, investigations, narcotics and gang investigations, defensive tactics, use of firearms and traffic/DWI enforcement. The group will also participate in field trips to the department’s range, headquarters, South District Station, Springfield Regional Police and Fire Training Center and its history museum, the Calaboose.
“I encourage citizens to participate in this academy because it allows them to get a much better understanding of the difficult job officers have,” said Police Chief Paul Williams. “The deeper their understanding is, the stronger our relationship can be with the citizens we serve. Establishing, or in some cases building upon connections between officers and citizens allows them to enhance the level of respect and trust among one another.”
Upon completion of the program, alumni of the Citizens Police Academy tend to develop a new-found desire to serve the City. Some get involved as members of the Police Civilian Review Board which reviews any citizen appeals of determinations made by the SPD about police conduct matters. Many alumni have helped enhance the department’s volunteer program by giving their time and variety of skills and talents to the SPD, and in turn, the citizens of Springfield. Most recently, a group of alumni banded together to form a new nonprofit organization called the Springfield Police Foundation. Its mission is to help fund education, training and equipment needs for the men and women of the SPD—meeting the department’s needs that the annual budget may not allow for.
The Springfield Police Department is accepting applications for the academy through July 7. The program is limited to 25 participants who must be citizens living inside the city limits of Springfield. To learn more or submit an application for the Citizens Police Academy, click here or call Officer Shawn Andrews at 417-864-1351.
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Media Contact: Lisa Cox, Public Affairs Officer