The South Holland Citizen Police Academy provides residents and business owners an opportunity to experience the inner workings of the Police Department. This 12-week program is designed to take a proactive approach to engaging residents and to building a stronger relationship between police and the community.
The Citizen Police Academy is taught by South Holland police officers in an interactive classroom setting. Classes cover many areas of public safety, including patrol functions, investigations, traffic enforcement, radio dispatch and records division, use of force, identity theft, SWAT, and the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force. The academy also offers an optional CPR certification.
Some classes engage students in hands-on activities. During the crime scene processing class, instructors teach the technique of dusting for fingerprints and gathering evidence. The firearms and range training class generates excitement as a portable shooting range simulator is used to demonstrate use-of-force training.
Through the use of realistic video scenarios, participants are trained on certain aspects of firearms handling, such as tactical strategies and split second decision-making. This experience opens residents’ eyes to the hard realities of police operational encounters.
During the administration class, students experience the challenges of working at the police station and the dispatch center. There is also a class on police equipment, in which participants examine the Police Department’s fleet, including the mobile command unit, ATV, motorcycle, and the multi-purpose transport vehicle.
Since its inception in 2008, 150 people have completed the Citizen Police Academy.
“The academy is great for our community,” said Officer Kirk Kremski, public education officer and coordinator of the academy. “This is an opportunity to see the community through the lens of the Police Department, with actual experiences. Officers are making a real connection with residents on a personal level. Since the very beginning, these experiences have been rewarding and beneficial for our community.”
Class size is limited to 20 participants who must either reside or operate a business in South Holland. They also must be 18 years of age or older and pass a background check. There is no charge for enrollment.
Registration is now open for the next session of the Citizen Police Academy. Classes take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays from April 8 to June 24 at the South Holland Community Center, 501 E. 170th St. Applications are available 24 hours a day at the Police Department, at 16220 Wausau Ave.
To learn more about the program, contact the South Holland Police Department, (708) 331-3131, option 2.