Questions lead to understanding at Alcoa Police fifth Citizens Police Academy class

The fifth class of the Alcoa Police Department Citizens’ Police Academy was very inquisitive. This may be why they performed so well while posing as police officers at a mock crime scene.

Alcoa Police Department Community Policing/Citizens Police Academy Director Holly Hatcher said the students got to go offsite to the Blount County Sheriff’s Office training facility near Big Springs Road for their crime scene.

Hatcher said the students were put in situations where they were following a suspect, a domestic violence scenario with potential drugs involved and a residence search. They were led on a K-9 search for a suspect, who they eventually caught.

“Each of the 15 students role played the part of a person with a key position in the police department and had to do what that person would do at the crime scene,” said Hatcher. “It worked out really well. They really engaged themselves with each speaker by asking very poignant questions,” Hatcher said.

Hatcher said the department invites up to 15 residents to the 12-week comprehensive program to learn about the police department. “We have a lot of demonstrations and hands-on activities and roll playing scenarios that we put them through so they can try to operate within the same guise as law enforcement does,” she said. “The philosophy behind the Citizens’ Police Academy is strengthening the partnership between the community at large and law enforcement agencies to fortify crime prevention. Citizens have more eyes than law enforcement will have. They’re valuable in assisting us in doing our job.”

Hatcher said the academy allows the department to open itself up to scrutiny. “At Alcoa Police Department, we dispel myths, address concerns and provide our training,” she said. “We open that up to the scrutiny of the public. It’s kind of a check and balance. The more they know, the less we look like we might be doing something secretive.”

Pamela Speed was president of Citizen’s Police Academy Class Five. Graduation was Nov. 15.

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