Winder department to offer Citizen Police Academy

WINDER - Would the average person recognize signs of gang activity in the neighborhood? Do you know the top tips for keeping your family safe from crime? Those concerns and more will be addressed in the upcoming Citizen Police Academy, sponsored by the Winder Police Department.

Twice a year, the department fills with about 30 citizens, eager to learn about the daily life of a police officer and gain inside knowledge that can make the difference between being the victim or the survivor of a crime.

Skilled trainers teach hands-on classes that allow students to physically participate in maneuvers. Students will ride along with a uniformed officer on nightly patrol to discover why a vehicle is pulled over and certain things the officer watches for while approaching the vehicle.

A day of shooting at targets on the firearms range gives students the chance to participate in the same firearms course required of law enforcement officers. "They'll have a shooting competition," said Capt. Dennis Dorsey, program coordinator. "When they search a building and don't find anybody, we have people who'll jump out at them. It gets their adrenaline pumping and shows them that it isn't as routine as the TV makes it look."

The program also focuses on what to do if a parent suspects their child is using drugs, how to keep the home and car safe from thieves and what to do when a person has become the victim of a crime or has witnessed a crime.

Classes include crime scene investigations, school resource officer, defensive tactics, domestic violence, vehicle pullovers, the judicial system, drugs, gangs, communications, high-risk warrant service, law enforcement technology, being a good witness, firearms, policing advancements and terrorism.

The Citizen Police Academy is the first step for anyone who wants to assist the department as a volunteer. The training qualifies alumni to assist in charity fundraisers, participate in crime prevention measures, work with the ride along program and complete advanced training in classes focusing on crime solving reconstruction artists, drug abuse in the home, constitutional law, Department of Juvenile Justice and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab.

For more information call Dorsey at 678-425-6843

or e-mail ddorsey@cityofwinder.com. Applicants can download a registration form at www.cityofwinder.com/departments/police/academy.

SideBar: If You Go

· What: Citizen Police Academy sponsored by the Winder Police Department

· When: The 10-week course begins at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 21

· Where: Winder Police Department, 94 N. Broad St.

· Cost: Free

· Deadline to register: Feb. 14