You won’t come away with a police badge. And, no, you won’t be able to make arrests or stop those nasty drivers who cut you off on city streets, around Grant or Blackburn circles, or on Route 128.
But the Citizens Police Academy being launched by the Gloucester Police Department under new chief Leonard Campanello and Lt. John McCarthy is indeed a worthy project that has been presented in other communities and should accomplish several goals for Gloucester residents and the department alike.
The primary one, of course, is to simply give residents the chance to get a first-hand look at what police work and the city’s Police Department are all about. The six-week academy, which begins Feb. 27 and carries into early April, will feature classes and workshops on domestic violence, drug issues, motor vehicle law, patrol procedures, firearms awereness — and then a K-9 unit demonstration, a cruiser ride-along and a tour of Middleton jail.
But, more subtly, the academy should also raise participants’ awareness of the need for community policing, and how civilians can better work with the department in neighborhoods across the city to bolster Gloucester’s public vigilance and safety.
Applications for the academy are available at the police station, at local businesses, and will also be available online beginning Friday on the department’s web page at gloucester-ma.gov.
Let’s hope this excellent community outreach project draws the level of interest, participation and support it deserves.