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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Academy offers understanding of police tactics.

By Joan Durbin / Neighbor Newspapers.com

Ever since he was in high school, Bob Meyers had considered police officers to be heroes and believed they should be recognized for their work.

Like many citizens, however, Meyers was mostly unclear on what the day-to-day job entails.

“Part of recognizing them is understanding what they do, but I never had the opportunity to find that out firsthand,” the Crooked Creek neighborhood resident said.

That’s why he signed up for the first-ever Milton Citizen Police Academy two years ago. The free program covered law enforcement procedures from accident and crime scene investigations to fingerprinting and working with a K-9 unit.

After he completed the academy, Meyers went on a ride-along with a Milton police officer patrolling on the night shift. That made the risks of the job really hit home.

“When they stop a car with dark windows, or they go behind a dark house, they don’t know what or who they’re going to encounter. You come back with a new respect for what they do,” Meyers said.

Milton police department has held only two of these academies, but would like to create an ongoing program.

According to Community Outreach Officer Andrew Phillips, an academy would have a class size of 10 to 20 students. Topics covered would include procedures, uniform patrol division duties, SWAT operations, traffic enforcement and basic police investigations regarding motor vehicle accidents and narcotics.

Participants would also tour Alpharetta’s jail and C3, the communications hub from which Milton’s calls for service are dispatched. Firearms or defensive driving training are not part of the academy series.

The free, nine-week academy would be held at Fire Station No. 43 on Hickory Flat Road, near the Birmingham Crossroads. Academy start dates will be finalized based resident response.

Meyers thinks Milton residents would find the academy a valuable experience and come away with a better understanding of what their police officers are faced with every day.

“This is real versus make believe. It isn’t cut and dried like it is on TV,” he said.

Anyone interested in participating in a Citizen Police Academy should email Off. Phillips at
andrew.phillips@cityofmiltonga.us.

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