EDWARDSVILLE - The majority of the Edwardsville Citizen’s Police Academy participants said they enjoyed the academy so much they wanted to continue the process of the 10-week program and were sorry it came to an end Thursday night.
Graduates received a diploma, a T-shirt and a class photograph in a brief ceremony Thursday evening at Edwardsville Police Department.
The topics in the academy over the 10 weeks were as follows: law review, traffic/DUI enforcement, use of force, excited delirium, crisis intervention; firearms familiarization; force on force/active shooter hands on exercise; drug trends and identification; crime scene investigation with hands on exercise; computer crimes and identity theft and a 4-hour ride along.
The academy was presented to adults 21 and over and was limited to 20 participants. Priority is given to Edwardsville residents on a first-come, first-serve basis. The group met from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursdays. Eleven people participated in this Citizens’ Police Academy.
Edwardsville Police Chief Jay Keeven said police officers have to make split-second decisions and he said he believes the Citizen’s Police Academy is eye-opening to residents about what functions a police officer performs each day.
“I hope this is something that, when you are out to dinner with friends, you might bring up and might help make them take part in it in the future,” he said. “We are having a hard time getting solid applicants for police officers today. We are lucky to have a list of 20-30 applicants and after background checks and checking educational standards, we have few candidates for policing jobs. A life of any public service person is admirable. Police officers are never going to be rich, but it is an honorable profession.”
Multiple participants asked if there could be a second class or an advanced class and Keeven said if there were enough interest the Edwardsville Police would consider another class.
Breihan said he came up with the idea for a Citizen’s Police Academy a long time ago as an officer after attending something similar with his sister in Collinsville. He said at that particular moment, he fell in love with law enforcement and wanted to make it a career, but he vowed if he were to ever be a police officer, he would love to establish a Citizen’s Police Academy.
He said he enjoys instructing the classes and hopes to continue the program. He is glad the Edwardsville Police Department has established it.
Lt. Chris Byrne said unless someone goes through this type of training, he or she may never know what all goes into being a police officer and the quick decisions officers have to make in the field.
One of the participants said they were impressed with just how much police officers care for others and all the good they do behind the scenes that often doesn’t draw attention.