, Gloucester, MA

Top Stories

April 5, 2013

'Academy' puts residents in police shoes

Program puts residents in officers' shoes

Most times when Gloucester police interact with residents in their roles as officers, adrenaline runs high and small talk is sparse.

But for the past six Wednesdays, officers have met with citizens in a more positive environment — Gloucester’s Citizen Police Academy.

”People don’t call us up at 6 at night and say ‘hey my daughter just told a great joke at the dinner table, why don’t you come listen to it?’” Police Chief Leonard Campanello. “They call because there’s an emergency or someone’s having a bad time or there’s a guy to chase. The academy is an excellent way to get police officers and citizens in a positive atmosphere and show residents what we do on a daily basis.”

Wednesday night, 34 residents gathered in the Gloucester District Court house at 6 p.m. for their weekly classes, all anticipating the night’s course with fresh excitement. The group, which included young men in hoodie sweatshirts, retirees with grayed hair and even two city councilors — Melissa Cox and Paul McGeary — geared up for K-9 demonstrations and a hands-on firearms safety class.

Participants have grown familiar with each other over the six weeks, spending two hours a week in programming that included a tour of the police station and of Middleton Jail, a ride along with patrol officers, a course on crime scene investigation and fingerprinting. One night even featured Breathalyzer tests, during which five of the classmates acted as guinea pigs, drinking alcohol then performing sobriety tests and Breathalyzers for police.

Each of the five volunteers had secured rides home ahead of time and police carefully monitored their drinking, but the stories that emanated from that week’s course had the group giggling and snickering all over again a week later.

Along with creating fun memories, the course has acted as a valuable tool in teaching residents about police work, resident Ross Burton said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Top Stories

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA