By Joe Siegel
The Smithfield Police Department is holding their annual Citizens’ Police Academy for eight weeks beginning on October 3.
Participants will meet on Thursday evenings, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m., in the Sgt. Norman G. Vezina Community and Training room, at the Smithfield Police Department.
Each week, a different law enforcement topic will be presented, with classroom and hands-on instruction by police officers. While attending the CPA, participants will be introduced to a wide variety of department functions. Participants will become familiar with the actual role of the police, and police officers will benefit from the wealth of knowledge that citizens can provide about the community.
This academy is offered free of charge to Smithfield residents or any person who works at a Smithfield business. Seating is limited and will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
The program, which started in 1996, teaches residents about a variety of topics, including crime scene investigation, hostage negotiation, firearms safety, traffic enforcement, domestic violence, arrest procedures, and use of force tactics which can include tasers, batons, and pepper spray.
There will also be an introduction to the department’s canine program and prosecutorial issues.
“Each class we try to devote to one subject,” said Police Captain Jason DiGrado.
Participants also have the opportunity to ride-along with an officer on patrol. Instructors are officers and personnel from the department who are experts in their fields. The classroom atmosphere is positive and highly interactive. Participants are encouraged to ask questions and discuss topics of interest with instructors.
DiGrado said there are typically 20 people per class. Participants are usually an even mix of ages and genders. Last year’s class was mostly female, according to DiGrado.
The program “gives citizens a better awareness into police operations,” DiGrado said, noting it “creates a stronger rapport between police and the community. We want to have the trust of the community,” said DiGrado.
Applications are available at the Smithfield Police Department or online on the Citizens’ Police Academy page. To attend the Community Police Academy, you must be 18 years of age, pass a basic background check, resident of Smithfield, or an employee of a Smithfield town business. There is no cost to register.
If you have any questions, please contact Operations Sergeant Kevin Proulx of the Community Policing Unit via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can also be reached by phone at (401) 231-2500, (ext. 145).