Citizens’ Police Academy looking for new recruits this fall

Residents will get a taste of what life in the line of duty is like this fall as the police department’s Citizens’ Police Academy (CPA) program returns to town.

The free seven-week program offers participants a unique look at the day-to-day life of Greenwich police through role-playing exercises and a demonstration at the police firing range, allowing recruits to participate in mock scenarios where an officer may have to fire his or her weapon.

Participants will also accompany police on a vehicle ride-along as officers respond to incidents around town, and a three-hour marine instruction and boat ride-along on Long Island Sound with members of the police department’s Marine Patrol.

CPA instructors are highly trained, experienced town officers who will instruct participants on a variety of topics including crime scenes, fraud, motor vehicle stops and criminal investigations.

According to town resident John Lucarelli, an alumnus who is now the chairman of the CPA, the program provides residents a first-hand view of how complex police work has become in modern times.

“It’s surprising how complicated and how much technology has aided law enforcement” in recent years, Mr. Lucarelli said.

With “state-of-the-art detective work” including use of cell phone technology to locate criminals, the Greenwich Police Department is a force to be reckoned with, he said.

“If you’re a bad guy, you’re on the defensive now.”

Another key component of the program is showing citizens that police are on their side, Mr. Lucarelli explained. While many people think of officers as the “bad guys” who serve speeding tickets, the CPA gives them another face that allows residents to see why police officers do what they do and the role they play in protecting the community.

“They’re here to protect and serve” in many capacities, he said.

An impressive aspect of the town’s police department is its variety of complex departments, such as forensics, and highly trained officers, some of whom are FBI-trained snipers.

As a CPA participant, “You’re able to see how prolific our police force is,” Mr. Lucarelli said.

The number of program applicants increases each year, proving that the CPA is a “crowning achievement of the community,” he added.

This year’s class will meet twice a week from 6:30 to 9 p.m. beginning Thursday, Sept. 13, at the police department. There will be two sessions scheduled for Saturdays from 11 to 3 on Sept. 29 and Oct. 13.

Class size is limited to 40 students. Due to the high demand for the program, qualified applicants will be placed in a lottery drawing to determine the final class roster. Accepted recruits will be contacted during the week of Sept. 3.

Applications for the CPA will be accepted through Friday, Aug. 31, and may be found at the police department, Town Hall or online at greenwichct.org.

Qualified participants must be Greenwich residents over the age of 18 with an up-to-date driver’s license. All applicants will be subject to a background check before the program begins.

 

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