BY ERIN NAUTA
LANSING, Ill. (January 31, 2019) – The Citizens Police Academy is a free 10-week class taught at the police station, by police officers. It’s a once-a-year opportunity for citizens to gain an in-depth view of the workings of the Lansing Police Department, complete with free coffee and snacks, free souvenirs, and no tests.
The goal of Citizens Police Academy is to demystify the police, to let people know what goes on at the department, how it operates, and, especially, what services the department provides to the people of Lansing.
The current class has 27 citizen students. Dress is casual, even for the officers who teach the class. There are the expected PowerPoint presentations, but also audio of actual 911 calls, videos of police on the job, and a few funny videos—because cops are people too, and they like a good joke as much as citizens do. Class members are welcome to ask questions anytime about any aspect of policing, and the officers give thorough, detailed answers.
In the first session, on January 16, the citizen students met the police chief and officers and heard an overview of the department. Class members received a three-ring binder with the topics for each session, the names of the teaching officers, and plenty of blank pages for taking notes.
Session two focused on emergency services, particularly the 911 system. Students learned that the Lansing Police Department’s 911 operators received 95,473 calls in 2018—and Lansing has just two 911 operators! (Sometimes another officer pitches in when call load is really heavy.) During that same time period, the 911 operators also made 21,583 outgoing calls: dispatching officers, fire fighters and ambulances, and checking up on callers.
Session 2 also covered Lansing’s Code Red alert system, the Premise Alert Bracelet Program, the Freedom of Information Act, and more. Students then received a tour of the LPD facilities, from the sally port where people are brought for booking, to the evidence room where items related to cases are kept under lock and key, to the Lansing Court where civil cases are heard.
Session three, originally scheduled for January 30, was postponed due to the polar vortex. Citizens Police Academy resumed again on February 6.
Classes are held at the Lansing Police Department, 2710 170th Street in Lansing. Contact Lt. Scott Bailey for more information or to be put on the waiting list for the next Citizens Police Academy:
- Call 708-895-7130
- Email [email protected]