One of the most common genres of television is crime and police work. With shows ranging from “Hawaii Five-0,” “CSI,” “Blue Bloods,” “Cops” and “Live PD,” to comedies like “Brooklyn 99” and “Reno 911,” the interest in police work has always been high.
Taking this knowledge into consideration, Police Chief Pat Gurcsik saw an opportunity to educate the public and let them see into the daily lives of police officers. Residents can register for the Citizens Police Academy. The academy is two nights per week, Mondays and Wednesdays, from June 24 to July 17. There is no charge for the academy, but interested residents should reach out to Sgt. Eric Caveng at ERCaveng@pd.twp.washington.nj.us to register.
“The objective of a citizen police academy program is not to train individuals to be police officers, but to produce informed citizens in a relaxing atmosphere,” Gurcsik said. “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. We try to break down that barrier, it’s all part of the community care-taking philosophy.”
The classes will take place at various locations in the community and teach residents about a litany of lessons, including an overview of police operations, crime scene processing, emergency vehicle operations and CPR training, to name a few things.
The courses will also touch on information about the K-9 unit, the detective bureau and bicycle patrols.
“The goals of the citizen police academy program can include providing stronger citizen-police relationships, enhancing lines of communication and the reduction of crime in the community,” Gurcsik said.
During the academy, the lines of communication will be open for the residents to speak to officers in a relaxed atmosphere. Through this communication, the citizens can gain the ability to make informed decisions regarding controversial issues facing the community, become aware of the problems facing the community and become aware of the problems facing the police department, according to Gurcsik.
Community care-taking is a cornerstone to Gurcsik’s department, and he credits the involvement in the community as a vital aspect of crime control in the township.
“It’s all about the police actively working with the community to prevent crime and create a safer environment,” he said. “The citizen police academy program is yet another mechanism for us to inform the public of what we do, improve communications and obtain citizen input, assistance and support throughout the community by sharing information.”
Open registration to the citizen police academy begins on May 1 and runs through June 30. The academy is only open to 30 residents, so it will run on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, contact Caveng at ERCaveng@pd.twp.washington.nj.us.