Porterdale Citizen Police Academy offers interactive training

Students follow crime scene from beginning to end

PORTERDALE — In just its second year, the Porterdale Police Department’s Citizen’s Police Academy is growing in popularity and is offering a new set of classes.

Police Chief Geoff Jacobs said the academy this year is more interactive and provides hands-on training for students.

“As a very small agency, we do not have all of the resources and personnel that larger agencies have to host one of these academies, so, with only six or seven people last year, I decided that I had to do something outside of the box in order to make this 9- to 11-week class interesting enough to keep the students involved and make them want to come back,” Jacobs said.

The 2nd annual Porterdale Citizen’s Police Academy kicked off Jan. 23 and now has about 20 students. It is held at 6:30 p.m. each Thursday at Grace Baptist Church on Crowell Road in Porterdale.

Each week in the 10-week course will involve some aspect of law enforcement, such as traffic enforcement, communications with the 911 center, the Criminal Investigations Division, proper use of firearms, and providing testimony during a mock trial.

Students will also spend a class period role playing through an incident involving domestic violence, and another one learning specifically about drug investigations and gangs.

Jacobs said that throughout the course of the class, students will be given roles to solve a “crime” that begins with the initial call and develops into a murder scene where a suspect escapes.

The students will then be taken through each step involved as a call progresses to the point of arresting a suspect, he said. For example, he said, students will volunteer to fill the roles of supervisor, crime scene technician and a detective. They will learn how to apply for a search warrant and how to search a building for a suspect.

Eventually, the case will be brought before a judge where Municipal Court Judge Kim Degonia will preside.

“This is a way for the students to get involved, find evidence and process a scene,” Jacobs said. “We give them a ‘whodunit’ and they have to figure out what happens.”

For more information about the Porterdale Police Department’s Citizen’s Police Academy, contact City Hall at 770-786-2226.