Jacksonville PD offers academy for residents

By Lisa Burnett Originally Published March 24, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated March 22, 2013 at 10:16 a.m.
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— For the sixth year in a row, Jacksonville residents will have the opportunity to find out what their police department actually does.

The Jacksonville Citizens Police Academy is offered twice a year and provides courses to give residents a better understanding of what the department does to protect them every day.

Sgt. Amanda Chapman with the Jacksonville Police Department is in charge of the Citizens Police Academy.

“It’s basically an eight-week-long class for residents, business owners and people who work in Jacksonville to learn about the Jacksonville Police Department,” Chapman said.

In the eight weeks, attendees will have a hands-on experience during some of the demonstrations given by police officers. The weekly classes aim to expel any myths Jacksonville residents may have heard about the Police Department and show them what to expect from the department, Chapman said.

“We’ll have different instructors every week,” Chapman said. “All of the instructors are police officers and do the job that they teach about.”

Chapman said that on one night, attendees will be given the chance to take a tour of the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility. Another night, attendees will see the various types of weapons the Police Department uses.

“This is a way for the citizens to get to know a lot of the officers,” Chapman said.

Over the years, Chapman said the academy has changed.

“We do critiques after every class,” Chapman said. Attendees give feedback to the department about what they like and don’t like about the class.

The Jacksonville Police Department is taking applications for the Citizens Police Academy until April 5.

Chapman said all attendees must pass a background check, be at least 18 years old and have had no felony or misdemeanor convictions for at least one year. The Citizens Police Academy will begin April 16. Chapman said the class size usually averages around 12 to 13 people.

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501)244-4307 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

Online News Editor Lisa Burnett can be reached at lburnett@arkansasonline.com.