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Citizen's Police Academy is looking for applicants

Melissa Mitchell, Arts Editor
(217) 333-5491; melissa@illinois.edu

7/24/
2000

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- If you've ever wondered what it's like to cruise the streets in a police patrol car or see the inside of the Champaign County jail, you can do both by enrolling in the next session of the Champaign County Citizen Police Academy.

Those activities are among many scheduled in conjunction with the free 10-week program, which will be offered Sept. 7 through Nov. 9 on Thursdays from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the University of Illinois Police Training Institute, 1004 S. Fourth St., Champaign.

The academy was organized in 1994 to increase community awareness of local police agency operations. Since then, spring and fall sessions have been offered each year.

"CPA's main function is to improve police/community interaction and communication through education," said Lois Welling, an administrative assistant at PTI. "During classes the participants are encouraged to ask questions and give feedback concerning the operation of the police agency. Both citizens and police officers benefit by meeting each other face to face in a neutral, friendly setting."

In addition to ride-alongs with officers and a jail tour, participants also will have the opportunity to visit METCAD facilities and participate in discussions on a wide range of law-enforcement topics, including crime prevention and community-based policing, gangs, DARE, domestic violence, cultural diversity training, DUI enforcement, citizen-police contacts, police use of force and firearms safety.

Program instructors include officers from the UI, Champaign, Urbana and area police agencies; county and state officers; agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and an area judge.

Applications for the upcoming CPA session will be accepted through Aug. 25 by contacting Welling (217) 244-9589 from 9 a.m-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.