Reporting Rachel Slavik
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Police citizen’s academies are giving the community a better chance to learn about law enforcement in their city.
Most of us think we have a good understanding of a police officer’s job. But, there’s so much that goes into their daily routine.
Many cities offer the community a chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at the department.
At the police shooting range in Eagan, Carolyn Kosek took advantage of a unique training opportunity.
She and others learned how to shoot a weapon used by Eagan Police, the AR-15 rifle.
Her lesson was part of the citizen’s police academy, a chance for the public to get an in-depth look at inner workings of the department.
“It’s really opened my eyes. There’s so much more to this,” said Carolyn Kosek, who took the Eagan citizen’s police academy.
Over eight weeks, officers within the department cover everything from the hiring process, to identity theft and murder investigations.
“There’s a lot of shows about police-related activities and, I think, it gives people a chance to see what real world police encounters are like,” said Desiree Schroepfer, of the Eagan Police Department.
This hands-on class allows citizens one-on-one time with police during a ride-along in a police car. They can also experience the shock of a Taser and meet the K-9 officer.
Yet, the takeaway from the class goes beyond education.
“It’s a great opportunity for the community to meet the officers and the officers to meet the community,” Schroepfer said.
It’s about building relationships and for a community.
“I’ve been telling everybody, my friends, people at work, if their city does something like this, I recommend it, highly,” Kosek said.
These classes are free, but it is a bit of a time commitment. Every city has a different schedule, but most classes range from 7-11 weeks.