Academy Gives Residents Inside Look At Law Enforcement

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For selected Rim country residents, a 12-week seminar beginning in June will let them in on the tricks of the law enforcement trade.

Sponsored by the Payson Police Department and the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Citizens Police Academy course is designed to give 25 students insight into the procedures and legal issues involved in law enforcement today.

"This is not a show-up-and-sit-in class academy," said Payson Police Officer Charlene Hunt. "Students will be put in life-like training scenarios, requiring them to participate, make snap decisions, and then justify their actions."

Among the exercises covered in the course are traffic stops, police canine use, air support, defensive tactics, special response team, firearms training, gang awareness, and DUI investigations.

"We'll also be having a 'Crime Night' where students will actually investigate mock crime scenes," Hunt said. "This isn't just classroom lessons. We use practical exercise. We set up crime scenes, and the students will use the skills that they've learned during the course and that night to do their own crime scene investigation."

Due to space restrictions, only 25 students will be accepted for the Citizens Police Academy. To be eligible, applicants:

Must be at least 18 years old and live or work in Gila County;

Must not have any felony convictions, or misdemeanors within the past six months;

Must pass a background check by the Payson Police Department;

In addition, a criminal record and drivers license status check is completed on each applicant.

To graduate, students must not have more than three unexcused absences; they must complete at least two hours on patrol with a Payson or DPS officer; and they must participate in a positive manner.

Classes are held from 6 to 9 p.m. each Wednesday, from June 6 to Aug. 23. Applications must be submitted to the Payson Police Department by noon, April 30.

For more information, contact Hunt or Sgt. Rod Mamero at 474-5242.

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