16th Annual National Citizens Police Academy Association Conference-Tucson, Arizona.
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The role of Police has always been an interest to the average Citizen. The television media has capitalized upon this curiosity with shows such as “Cops”, “America’s Most Wanted”, and “Stories of the Highway Patrol”. Each week, real police action is broadcast into the living rooms of millions of Americans. Numerous Police Agencies have also benefited from the curiosity that citizens have about the police.
These agencies have formed Citizen Police Academy programs that create an expansion of their community based efforts. These programs are intended to open the lines of communication between the Community and the Police Department. Generally, the relationship between the police and the citizen is one of “love/hate”.
To the Citizen, it may frequently appear that the police are not doing their job or are exceeding their boundaries. By allowing citizens a firsthand look at what rules, regulations and policies the police follow, some of the misunderstanding may be alleviated.
The objective of the Citizen Police Academy is not to train an individual to be a “Reserve Police Officer” but to produce informed citizens. The Citizens and Police Officers meet each other face to face in a neutral, friendly setting and each becomes a person to the other. In the past, citizens have simply seen a uniform, now they have an understanding about the person behind the badge.