LaGrange Police Set to Host Citizen’s Academy

The LaGrange Police Department will be hosting another Citizen’s Police Academy starting on January 23.

The ten-week course runs through the end of March, with graduation closing out the classes on March 27. Classes are taught once a week on Tuesdays from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

For over three decades, the LaGrange Police Department has held a class meant to bring citizens into the day-to-day processes of law enforcement. The Citizen’s Police Academy allows the public to have a bit of insight into the people that keep our streets and homes safe.

The classes are taught by LaGrange Police Department officers who have thousands of combined hours in training. The entire tenweek course will be completed in less than 30 hours, unlike the training for our local officers who average more than a combined 15,000 hours in training each year.

The ten-week course will cover a wide variety of topics and include instructions on personal and family safety as well as instructions on the many aspects of police work including investigation, evidence collection, court work, public safety, K-9s, and firearms. Participants will have the opportunity to go on ride-alongs with officers, as well as view demonstrations of all types of police activity.

A goal of the course is to foster a mutual respect between law enforcement officers and the public. The public perception of police officers is often skewed because the most common interactions with police are either people reporting being the victim of a crime or they are being charged with committing the crime themselves. Neither instance is exactly a pleasant experience.

No one likes getting pulled over for traffic violations. Even if the officer only wants to warn you that your tail light needs changing, the stop can elevate your heart rate out of fear of getting a ticket. That’s what your subconscious remembers, not them telling you to slow down or change your brake light.

The Citizen’s Police Academy aims to change that perception and let people know that the majority of time spent by law enforcement officers is helping members of the community, not arresting people. There’s a reason why police departments across the country use the motto, “Protect and serve.”

The program also allows officers to receive feedback from the public in a friendly encouraging environment.

Participants in the citizen’s academy will receive training similar to the training officers receive in their own police academy training, with the exception of the physical training. The citizen’s academy training is designed so that adults of all ages can participate.

At the end of the course, graduates are given certificates from LaGrange Police Chief Lou Dekmar.

Any adult, 18 years old or older, can register to participate in the course at the LaGrange Police Department or via an application on their Facebook page.

The classes will be held at the LaGrange Police Department Training Center at 376 Aerotron Parkway, starting January 23. The last day to register is January 19.