Plans set for next Citizens Police Academy

Tom Joyce Staff Reporter

October 30, 2013

Local residents wanting to get a behind-the-scenes look at Mount Airy Police Department operations can do so through the next Citizens Police Academy program.

The annual academy includes a series of activities that have appealed to participants, including a ride-alongs during an actual patrol, and crisis-management team and police dog demonstrations.

“It is very popular,” Lt. Kelly Hiatt of the police department’s Community Services Division said of the program. “This is our 14th one.”

In that time, nearly 300 people have completed the Citizens Police Academy.

Its 2014 version will include 10 class sessions, which will begin on Jan. 6 and continue to March 10, with a March 17 makeup day to be added if needed.

The Citizens Police Academy will be held on Monday nights during that period from 6:30 to 10 p.m., excluding a holiday on Jan. 20.

Hiatt said Tuesday that although the program doesn’t begin until January, it is being announced now for reasons including giving the department enough time to conduct background checks that are required for those who apply for the class.

“Last year it filled up pretty fast,” Hiatt said, adding that the class size is limited. “We usually have between 25 and 30 people, and 30 is our cutoff.”

Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis, with about three people signed up so far.

In addition to the patrol ride-along and traffic enforcement techniques, police dog demonstration and crisis-management team demonstration (most commonly known as SWAT entry simulation), the class subject matter will focus on FATS (Firearms Training Simulator) operations, narcotics investigations, arrest and search/seizure procedures, laws and ordinances, training issues, a mock court and more.

The sessions will be led by different members of the city police force and held in the training room at the department.

Applications for the Citizens Police Academy are available at the police station, and interested persons also can contact Hiatt at 786-3561.

Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or