Winchester Police gearing up for Citizens Police Academy

Published 2:36 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2016

By Fred Petke, The Winchester Sun 

For anyone interested in how the Winchester Police Department works or in police work in general, the department is offering a 12-week course in how everything functions.

The department will begin its annual Citizens Police Academy Sept. 21 at 6 p.m., Winchester Police Capt. James Hall said.

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The department has offered the academy for several years, though it’s been more than a year since the last one.

“It’ll be 12 weeks every Wednesday night from 6 to 8 p.m.,” Hall said. “That’s our best night because we have the most manpower available.”

Each session, which will be at Winchester City Hall, will touch on a different aspect of the department and police work.

“We’ll talk about criminal law, patrol operations, equipment demonstrations, criminal investigations, dispatch functions … pretty much everything we do at the police department, they’ll see an aspect of it,” Hall said.

There will be new additions this year. Though some are still being worked out, Hall said the department will set up its FATS system, a live-action firearms simulator in which the participant interacts with the simulator in real-life situations.

“We’ll let the people participate with that and see what a shoot-no shoot situation is like,” he said.  “I think they’ll enjoy that.”

There will also be an opportunity to ride along with an officer during a shift.

“It’s an eye-opener for a lot of people,” he said. “We try to maintain a safe community and make sure the residents and citizens are happy with the job we do.”

The academy is open to anyone 14 or older, he said.

“Fourteen is usually our minimum but I’ve had younger come las long as they’re accompanied by an adult,” he said. “We’ve had people in their 70s or 80s (participate). We’re not doing any rigorous action. We encourage anyone with any interest in how their police department operates to come down and get involved.”

To apply, either stop by the police department at 16 S. Maple St. or email Hall at for an application. Registration ends Sept. 19 and sessions begin Sept. 21.

Contact Fred Petke at or follow him on Twitter, @FredPetkeNews.