CALUMET CITY | The city’s seven aldermen are being asked this month to nominate people to participate in a "Citizens Academy" the Police Department wants to create to give local residents some exposure to what exactly the police do.
Police Chief Edward L. Gilmore appeared this week before the City Council to inform the aldermen that he wants their nominations by Aug. 31. Gilmore envisions the first class of the Citizens Academy to consist of 21 people, meaning each of the seven aldermen would get three picks.
It will be up to the aldermen to decide the criteria for picking class members, although Gilmore said that participants must be at least 21 years old and he wants a diverse group, which is why he’s asking the aldermen to get involved in picking people for the program.
He said he’s not necessarily looking for young people with an interest in a law enforcement career. In fact, he’d rather have people in the class who already have full-time jobs.
“I want people who have a job, not people who are looking for a job,” the chief said.
Gilmore said the Citizens Academy is meant to give people some firsthand exposure to what police officers do. He already has developed a syllabus of activities for the class, and envisions class members meeting with police officers to watch them at work, and possibly even giving them opportunities to make judgment calls on how to handle various situations.
“This is for 'Joe Citizen' and giving them a better idea why and how decisions are made (by police officers) every day,” he said. “It’s not 'Intro to Police Work.'"
Gilmore said he would want to have Citizens Academy classes twice a year, with each class once a week for 12 weeks. He wants the first class to run from Sept. 11 through Dec. 4.
By requiring aldermen to have their nominations submitted by month’s end, Gilmore said he’d be able to do background checks on applicants during the first week of September.