The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

May 14, 2014

EPD’s Citizen’s Academy graduates 6th class

ENID, Okla. — Enid Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy graduated its sixth class Wednesday evening.

Chief Brian O’Rourke, Lt. Gary Fuxa and Officer Darrin Morris each addressed the class during a brief ceremony at the police station.

“It’s been a pleasure for us, a total pleasure,” Fuxa told the class. “You guys have been a great class and asked a lot of great questions.”

The purpose of the academy is to give residents a behind-the-scenes look at the department and teach them about the department’s structure and activities. The academies are kept small, about a dozen participants, to allow for more participation and further interaction.

“We wanted to educate people on what the police department is like, and we want you to take that back to your families, your places of employment and your neighborhoods and spread the word,” Fuxa said. “We enjoy showing off our police department, because I think it’s one of the finest in the nation.”

The academy allows residents to ride along with a police officer, fire weapons used by officers and SWAT members and hear from members of each of the department’s divisions. Classes are taught by members of the department, and students also receive training with Tasers and K-9 units, and learn defensive tactics.

Academy graduate Cindy McFarland said she applied for the academy after a friend told her about it.

“He had just finished up the last class,” she said. “I just wanted to know more about the police department and what they did behind the scenes.”

McFarland said she enjoyed the class featuring the Narcotics Unit.

“It was a very visual class,” she said. “He brought examples of what normal people would view as trash and it was actually components of what had been used to make meth.”

McFarland said she would “most definitely” recommend the class to others.

“It’s just so informative,” she said. “You just don’t understand what the city of Enid Police Department does and the tools they have at their disposal.

“It’s not a good time to be a bad guy.”

Ashley Bell said a friend from work told her about the academy so she applied.

“It was fun,” Bell said. She said she would recommend the academy to other people.

“It’s definitely an eye-opener, learning more about the community and everything that goes on here,” she said. “I definitely learned a lot.”

Applications for the next academy in August are being taken.

O’Rourke said the academies will continue for the foreseeable future.

“I’d like to be able to get more people to go through the academies to get the word out and show people that we do for the community,” he said. “After six academies in three and a half years, for me the excitement of having the academies go on hasn’t waned, and I know it hasn’t for the staff. The interest by the public in participating hasn’t diminished.”

He said the academies were something he always wanted to do, and has modeled Enid’s program after those done by other law enforcement agencies.

“This program is something I’ve always wanted to do,” the chief said. “Gary and Darrin put together a pretty good format. We’ve tried to make it the best experience we can.”

Speaking to the academy graduates, O’Rourke said the job of a police officer isn’t always a popular one but a necessary one.

“These men and woman work really hard. I am definitely not the most important in this business. It’s the people at the other end of the building,” he said. “I am glad you got to see it. I’m glad you got a taste of it.

“Enid is a great community, and I am really proud to serve it.”

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