The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

February 7, 2012

Citizens Police Academy begins its second year

ENID — Enid Police Department Chief Brian O’Rourke welcomed the 12 newest students of the department’s Citizens Police Academy Tuesday night.

“We wanted to get the word out on what we do,” he said. “We work for the community. We want to be able to show what we do.”

The free course will give academy members an overview of the functions of each of the department’s divisions and give members an idea of what an officer does. The chief said the department depends upon the community.

“We cannot police a community by ourselves. We need the community’s help,” he said. “We’re trying to get out there and get involved.”

He said one purpose of the academy was to dispel some of the myths about what it is police officers do.

Lt. Gary Fuxa, EPD training officer, went over the course’s curriculum with the students.

The academy is free for Enid residents older than 18 and is scheduled for 13 weeks, with classes held Tuesday evenings. It 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.

This year, students will spend one evening with the department’s Narcotics Division detectives, a night with Internet Crimes Against Children detectives, and have a chance to use a MILO firearms-training simulator.

Each class is taught by members of the department, and students will get hands-on experience by conducting fingerprinting, learning defensive tactics and watching videos and recordings from actual cases conducted by the department.

“What we’re going to do is pull back the curtain and give some perspective on who we are and what we do,” Fuxa said. “If you have any questions, please ask. That’s why we’re here.”

Capt. Dean Grassino said the department wants to continue hosting its citizens academy because of the first one’s success.

“The people we heard from and got feedback from said it really exceeded their expectations,” he said. “It was an overwhelming success.”

James Jacobs, who was an Enid Police Department officer from 1974 to 1980, said when the academy came up he wanted to join to see what changes have been made.

“Back when I was on the police department, it was its own little entity and no one wanted anything to do with it,” he said. “This is just outstanding to get the citizens involved with what happens to a police officer.”

Jacobs said as he arrived Tuesday evening he noticed one big change from his days on the force, the number of police cars.

“They have over 100 police cars now,” he said. “When I was here, we had 21.”

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