Citizen Police Academy goes for another round | SierraSun.com

Citizen Police Academy goes for another round

Renee Shadforth

Armed with radios and decorated badges that say “Truckee Police Department,” the volunteers in policing (or VIPs) roam the streets of Truckee – directing traffic, controlling crowds and scooping ice cream.

And where do these citizens get their authority to perform such acts? The Truckee Police Department’s Citizen Police Academy.

“I’m 74 years old. I’ve never been in law enforcement, but I’ve always been fascinated with that type of work,” said John Fraser, a graduate of last spring’s Citizen Police Academy and volunteer with the Truckee Police Department.

The police department will offer Truckee-ites another chance to learn what it’s like to be on the beat in the second Citizen Police Academy this fall. Graduates of the 11-week academy will have an opportunity to join the VIP squad.

“It’s a great way for people to get an inside look at their police department,” said police Cmdr. Scott Berry.

During the training, citizens will be introduced to patrol procedures, investigative duties, basic criminal law, traffic enforcement and collision investigation, school policing, communications and 911 dispatch. Participants will also get to go on a ride-along with a Truckee Police Department officer.

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“You go through all the basic aspects of what they do,” said academy graduate Chuck Reever. “You get to see [the officers] as more than the people who flash the ‘Oh my God’ lights that go on behind you in your car.”

People representing various civic organizations in town will stop by the academy, like Nevada County Superior Court Judge Andy Holmer, Deputy District Attorney Fred Holmes, victim witness coordinator Rod Gillespie, probation officer Bob Dowrick and public defender Dave Humphries.

Attendees will also get a glance at the department’s association with Tahoe Women’s Services, domestic violence, the department’s community policing philosophy and the boat patrol on Donner Lake.

After citizens complete the academy, they will be eligible to be a VIP. As a volunteer, citizens will help with traffic control events – like the Donner Lake Triathlon and the Truckee rodeo – and maintaining a presence in the community.

“Some people look at us in our white shirts and blue pants and they think we’re in law enforcement, not just volunteers,” Reever said. “So we have to maintain a positive image.”

The second Citizen Police Academy will begin Sept. 16 at 6 p.m. at Truckee Town Hall. Applications and additional information are available at the Truckee Police Department. For more information over the phone, call 550-2323.