Students and staff are attending the CSU Police Department’s new Citizen’s Academy Program for a variety of reasons.
“It looks good on a resume,” said Tiffany Olive, a junior sociology major who is considering law enforcement as a career option.
For Alexis Alvarez, a senior psychology major, it was the curiosity.
“This is the first time I’ve ever heard of something like this,” she said.
For 12 weeks, CSUPD is teaching students and staff about Colorado law and police work through the new program.
Chief Dexter Yarbrough, along with Sgt. Ed Bozic, started the program and planned the curriculum, which covers police-community relations, arrest control techniques, firearms safety, substance awareness and Colorado law.
“We wanted to be more engaged in the community,” Bozic said. “We are trying to engage the community on campus (so they will be able) to see what the police do and why we do what we do.”
The academy – held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursdays in Green Hall – is entirely taught by CSUPD officers.
“It is so heartwarming to know that these officers are so dedicated and are so serious,” said Anne Marie Bailey, who works in Facilities Management and is participating in the class. “We appreciate them sharing all of their knowledge.”
The participants are an eclectic mix, ranging from freshman college students to those in their 60s.
Bozic said he hopes the academy will bolster the department’s relations with the public so the community will be more involved with the department.
“We can’t be in this bubble, so we are trying to reach out,” he said. “Once the citizenry knows us better, they will be more apt to call.”
The academy will continue to be held either once or twice a year, either in the fall, or in the fall and the spring. Bozic plans on keeping the attendance to about 15 to 20 students and staff.
Tom Locashio, a participant and employee in Internal Auditing, is hoping the academy will continue.
“It makes you realize that police officers are human, too,” he said.
And, of course, there are practical reasons.
“It is a way to learn these things without committing a crime,” Olive said.
Staff writer Valerie Hisam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about how to get involved with the Citizen’s Academy Program, go to police.colostate.edu or call 491-1159.