• 41°

Citizen Police academy great way to connect

It has long been said there is no better way to understand someone than to walk a mile in his or her shoes.

The same goes for sitting in someone else’s seat, getting behind the wheel of their vehicle or “wearing” their badge.

That is essentially the kind of experience community members can have by participating in the Winchester Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy program that offers a closer look at law enforcement and police operations right here at home.

The free program is open to anyone who wants to learn about the challenging job these men and women do and become more engaged with law enforcement. Participants can range from young adults considering law enforcement as a career to senior citizens who just want an insider’s perspective.

The 12-week academy begins Sept. 13 and runs from 6 to 8 p.m. every Wednesday.

Topics will cover all aspects of police work including criminal and narcotics investigations, firearms training and patrol. Some of the details are still being finalized but participants will have the opportunity to do a ride-along with an on-duty officer as well as “ride-along” in the department’s dispatch center.

These “officers in training” will also spend time with the department’s firearms training simulator, which allows people to experience real-life situations, including shoot or no-shoot scenarios, officers can encounter.

Registration forms are available at the Winchester Police Department or by emailing Hall at jhall@winchesterky.com. The deadline is Sept. 6.

The men and women who protect our community in law enforcement do a tremendous job and we appreciate the work they do each and every day to keep us safe. It often includes long hours, significant safety risks and is mostly thankless.

On a national level, the relationship between law enforcement and the community has taken a hit in recent years but, thankfully, that is a trend that has mostly skipped Winchester and Clark County.

This program is a great way to get a small taste of what law enforcement officers experience. We hope to see a full roster in the academy and know these “graduates” will see things in a different light.