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Citizen Police Academy Back By Popular Demand

Kent Police Department offering its third session of 11-week program that's free for participants.

Back by popular demand in 2013 is the Kent Police Department’s Citizen Police Academy, a free 11-week program that gives participants a behind-the-scenes look at department operations.

The department’s third academy session will begin Feb. 7, with all four-hour classes taking place at the police facility on South Water Street. A graduation event will be held about one week after the academy ends.

The grant-funded academy features a variety of instructors, all of whom are Kent Police employees. Each participant will have the opportunity to do a “ride-along” with a Kent officer and try out some police equipment.

Topics to be covered include criminal law, case law, court processes, parking and traffic enforcement, drunk and drugged driving enforcement, criminal investigations, use of force, crime prevention and specialized police functions.

Lt. James Prusha, who is heading up the newest academy session, said the success of the prior two sessions proved the program is mutually beneficial for participants and the police department.

“The participants learned a great deal about the workings of the police department … (and) were able to share valuable perceptions that community members have about the police department,” he said. “The cooperation and shared responsibility for problem solving between police personnel and the public was enhanced.”

Prusha said he enjoyed serving as a presenter on the topic of bicycle patrol for prior academy sessions and hosting an academy participant for a ride-along during one of his patrol shifts.  

“During my interaction with the former academy participants, they impressed me with their enthusiasm,” he said, adding that members of prior academies have become advocates for the department.

Those applying don't necessarily have to be supporters of the police department, former academy coordinator Capt. Paul Canfield said previously.

“We’d like to hear from folks who don’t quite see things the way we do (because) we’d like to improve how we’re perceived in the community. You can’t always see our viewpoint unless you’ve stood where we’ve stood,” Canfield said.

Click this link to read what some academy graduates have to say about the experience.

Selection criteria

Applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Be a Kent-area resident.
  • Possess a valid Ohio driver’s license or state identification card.
  • Not have an employment application pending with any law enforcement/criminal justice agency.
  • Not have any felony convictions or have committed a crime of violence.
  • Not have been arrested for any misdemeanor offenses within the past two years.
  • Submit to a criminal background check.

Applications must be received two weeks prior to the class start date. Kent Patch has simplified the process of obtaining the application and necessary release forms by including them with this story as printable pdfs.

For more information call Prusha weekdays at 330-673-3221 or email him at prusha@kent-ohio.org.

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