By: SNJ Today Staff
GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, N.J. — In its continuing effort to foster a better police community partnership, the Gloucester Township Police Department is sponsoring a free ten-week Citizens Police Academy beginning January 23, 2020.
“The Citizens Police Academy was created to build on our relationship with the community and help our residents understand what we do and why we do things,” Deputy Chief Anthony Minosse said. “It is an excellent opportunity to take a firsthand look inside their agency and learn about the Gloucester Township Police Department, its officers, and gain insight into law enforcement.”
According to the department, the Citizen Police Academy, which has been run for the past 20 years, is not meant to train someone to be a police officer but to inform citizens about what police do and to gain an understanding about the person behind the badge. The citizens and police officers meet each other face to face in a neutral, friendly setting so each becomes a person, not just a uniform.
“The outcomes and goals are intended to build a stronger community and police relationship,” Minosse said. “We want residents to take pride and responsibility in their neighborhoods and be the ears and eyes we need to assist the GTPD to reduce crime and any issues impacting our community.”
During the program, participants take part in open discussions and some visual powerpoint presentations, along with other hands-on activities such as use of a firearms simulator and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification training.
“Additionally, there are various demonstrations and overviews from the K9 Teams, Special Response Team, Crime Scene Unit, Investigations Bureau, Juvenile and Family Services Bureau, and Traffic Safety Bureau just to name a few,” Minosse said.
Participants will see a variety of presentation from the Chief of Police, various police commanders, police officers, and telecommunicators (police dispatchers), all with particular expertise in the subject areas and topics.
“Also, we have special guests and a well known pharmacist who will discuss the current drug problems and issues with vaping,” Minosse said.
The Citizens Police Academy, which averages 30 to 40 people per session, can also be the first step for those who are interested in becoming a Gloucester Township Police Volunteer.
Minosse said that the department started the Volunteers in Police Service program about two years ago.
“We currently have approximately ten volunteers who have been a huge help to our policing operations,” Minosse said. “We felt it was important for our volunteers to first attend our Citizens Police Academy so that they really understand the police department and have the knowledge to support our programs.”
After successfully completing the Citizens Police Academy, a police volunteer will complete a more detailed background check and interview.
“The use of police volunteers helps us achieve our goals of being a progressive community policing agency,” the Deputy Chief said. “Effective community policing entails well established partnerships and programs, efforts to address social disorder and solve problems, with an ultimate goal of tackling crime and making communities even safer.”
The classes will be held on Thursday evenings from 6:30 P.M. to 8:30 P.M. and is open to Gloucester Township residents 16 years of age or older.
Those who would like to receive a Citizens Police Academy application or have any questions, can call the Gloucester Township Police Department Community Relations Bureau at (856)374-5712 or email Communityrelations@gtpolice.com.
“By working together, cooperation, trust, and a supporting bond is enhanced between community members we serve and our police officers,” Minosse said.
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