It was 2016 when the Mt. Laurel Township Police Department launched its first Junior Police Academy.
Every summer since, the academy has allowed the MLPD to give seventh- and eighth-grade students lessons in various law enforcement topics, as well as hands-on experience with practical law-enforcement scenarios.
Now it’s mom and dad’s turn, as well as a turn for any other adult resident or business owner in town who would like to learn more about the operations of the police department.
Registration is now open for the department’s inaugural Citizen Police Academy.
Similar to the Junior Police Academy, department officials hope the Citizens Police Academy will allow local residents and business owners to gain a better understanding of the MLPD through a learning environment.
Officials say the academy will allow the department to foster transparency between the MLPD and participants through observation and hands-on learning scenarios that are “designed to educate the participants on the structure, activities and daily functions of the police department.”
According to department officials, those selected to participant in the MLPD’s Citizen Police Academy will have an opportunity to learn from experienced officers and detectives currently serving with the department – similar to how students are taught in the department’s annual Junior Police Academy.
Lessons for the Citizens Police Academy are scheduled to focus on topics such as patrol operations for the department, community-oriented policing at the department, the functions of the department’s K-9 division, motor vehicle laws and the prosecution of crimes.
Officials say the Citizens Police Academy will also give participants an opportunity to experience a ride-along with officers of the MLPD, as well as the chance to utilize a firearms simulator.
With the academy, officials hope the Mt. Laurel Township Police Department can “create more informed citizens and open the lines of communication between civilians and officers.“
The inaugural MLPD Citizens Police Academy will launch Oct. 2 for seven consecutive Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
Qualifications to register for the Citizens Police Academy are as follows:
- Participants must be at least 21 years of age
- Participants must be resident or business owner in Mt. Laurel Township who are also in good standing in the community
- Upon submitting an application, those potentially selected for the academy must undergo a background investigation.
- Those interested must be available for all scheduled classes. Those who cannot attend all classes will not be allowed to participate.
- Applications must be complete and returned to the program coordinator by Sept. 1.
Officials are remanding residents that limited space is available for the academy.
To request an application for the MLPD Citizens Police Academy or to ask questions, email Patrolman Kyle Gardner Kgardner@mountlaurelpd.org.