Applications open for WPD Citizens Police Academy

Published 12:18 pm Tuesday, December 13, 2022

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Around Winchester, you might see police officers roaming the area to keep the community safe.

Now, you’ll be able to get a bit of the experience yourself.

Through December 31, individuals can apply to participate in the Winchester Police Citizens Police Academy.

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“It’s a program that we like to invite the people [to] and see what we do at the Police Department,” said Sergeant and Academy Coordinator Travis Thompson. “It’s part of our community policing approach and gives the public an opportunity to see exactly what we do, how we do it, what we’re about, and what our mission is.”

The event consists of one 2-hour class each Wednesday for 10 weeks from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

The first meeting will be Wednesday, January 18.

Each class will focus on a different topic with a separate instructor.

As a result, students and attendees will have an opportunity to experience more of a person’s day-to-day life in law enforcement.

“They get to tour the police department. They have a night where they get to learn about the communications center. They have a night where they get to learn about criminal investigations,” Thompson said. “There’s a night on narcotics. It’s a very popular night.”

Other common topics attendees will learn about include traffic stops and how to undertake DUI investigations.

Yet while the police stations are a vital place to be, they’re not the only location that attendees will observe.

They’ll have an opportunity to visit the Clark County District Court building and spend time with Judge Earl Ray Neal, among others.

“He talks about court proceedings and the process of that,” Thompson added. “We [also] take a night to tour the jail, and we go through the [Clark County] Detention Center with the jailer. Based on that, we get to learn the criminal justice system from start to finish.”

Though not one of the classes, attendees interested have yet another chance to learn what life is like on the job.

Individuals have the chance to spend two hours riding with a patrol officer.

“They can actually sit in the passenger seat and watch the officer work,” Thompson added. “Not everybody wants to do it, but if they want to, we provide them with an opportunity to spend a couple of hours with a patrol officer and do a ride-along. We try to schedule those throughout the ten weeks of the Academy.”

In a town of around 20,000, Thompson believes that a strong relationship between law enforcement and the community is essential.

It is something to be used as a guiding factor moving forward.

“It’s extremely beneficial. Community policing is what it’s all about”, Thompson said. “We’re a small department, and we can only do so much. We rely on our community members to be there for us, to see things for us, to call us when they see things…[and] help us to be able to investigate crimes and to do it adequately and efficiently.”

The future also holds bright.

“We just look forward to doing this every year,” Thompson said. “Depending on how much demand we have, we may try to do two classes in 2023.”

For more information and any questions, contact Thompson at Applications can be picked up and dropped off at the Winchester Police Department, though email is also accessible.