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Column

My journey through the Citizens Police Academy

Ten-week course by Princeton Police begins with tour of mobile command post

Ten-week course by Princeton Police begins with tour of mobile command post

So, I recently made a pretty big commitment. I signed up to take a 10-week Citizen Police Academy course through the Prince­ton Police Department, which started Wednesday.

It’s the first time in several years the department has managed to muster up enough public interest to provide the class, which surprises me.

I’ve decided to try it out and journal about my experiences along the way. Who knows? Maybe it will pique more interest for future courses.

One thing’s for sure, the police officers are excited to be able to offer this class. They want the public to know more about their work in the community. I can already tell, no question will go unanswered in this course.

We’re going to be diving into some pretty interesting topics. We’ll be learning about crime scene processing, firearms training, SRT demonstrations, the work of the Bureau County coroner and much more. Toward the end of the course, we’ll ride along with one of the on-duty officers to get a peek at what’s happening out on the street — which seems to be what people are looking forward to most.

The next favorite might be when we’re taken out to a gun range to shoot a firearm. I’ve never had the opportunity to shoot a gun, so this one sounds a little scary to me. I might chicken out of this one; we will see.

I guess you’ll have to continue reading along my journey to find out whether I actually shoot or not.

Wednesday’s first session was led by Princeton Police Tom Kammerer, who provided introductions. Prince­ton Mayor Joel Quiram also made an appearance to welcome everyone to the class. He was curious about people’s expectations and asked what we hope to get out of it.

I hope to gain a whole new appreciation of the work our local police officers do each and every day. Being the town journalist, I get a frontline view of what these officers do when crime is breaking. It’s pretty admirable. Out of respect for them, I’d like to know more about how they do what they do.

Following introductions, the class dove right in with a tour of the area’s mobile command post, which is operated by Bureau County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Jim Shipp. He told us about all it can do, where it can go and how it’s the area’s greatest asset when disaster strikes.

We also got a tour of the BuE­Comm 911 center, where we chatted with 911 educator Dawn Porter. She was working a live 911 line, but no emergency calls came through during our time there, so she made a test call so we could see what the routine is when someone dials 911.

The center is equipped with some pretty efficient equipment, but more updates are on the horizon. Callers will soon have the capability to text or send pictures/video to 911 during an emergency. They call it Next Generation 911.

In the last half hour of the class, Kammerer gave a complete tour of the police station, where we got to walk through offices, holding cells, the car garage, the interview room, the training room, etc. It’s a pretty neat facility if you haven’t seen it already.

What’s on the agenda for next week? Representatives from Freedom House will be talking about domestic violence cases, and Princeton Police Officer Ben Atkinson will be talking about area scams. I’m already looking forward to it.

Note to readers: Goldie Rapp is a senior staff writer for the Bureau County Republican. Her email address is grapp@bcrnews.com.

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