Editor's note: The time the academy meets Tuesdays has been updated.
ENID, Okla. — Enid Police Department is seeking applications for its next Citizens Police Academy scheduled to begin March 3.
Lt. Dustin Albright said applications will be accepted until the academy is full.
Applications for the 12-week course can be found on the EPD website, https://www.enid.org/services/police/citizens-police-academy, and clicking on the Citizens Police Academy link. Applicants will undergo a background check prior to acceptance into the academy.
The goal of EPD’s Citizens Police Academy is to educate Enid residents about the structure and activities of the police department, Albright said. Citizens Police Academy class is not a training class but is an information class, a behind-the-scenes look at the department.
“Law enforcement work is often misunderstood. Citizen Police Academy gives us a chance to pull back the curtain and show the public what we really do,” Albright said. “We’ve received some really positive feedback and have made some great allies within the community. That support makes us just all the more effective at our jobs.”
The academy is free to attend and meets 6-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays for 12 weeks. Class sizes are limited to ensure the quality of the course.
Albright said graduates of the program often see the academy as “an eye-opening experience.”
“A lot of them have no idea what we really go through and how we function,” he said. “I’ve never heard any complaints, just positive comments on their experience.”
The objective of the academy is not to make police officers out of graduates but to make them better-informed residents, with an accurate knowledge of the department’s responsibilities and functions, Albright said.
Citizens Police Academy is taught by police officers and other personnel in their own areas of expertise. Sessions cover a range of topics, including patrol, criminal investigations, traffic stops, crime scenes, narcotics, DUI enforcement, officer use of force, officer safety, crime prevention and defensive tactics.
Albright said the department wants all kinds of residents to apply for the next academy.
“People that have had negative experiences (with police) we’d like to come. People who want to be police officers, we’d like to come,” he said. “And people who are curious about what goes on in the department.”
Chief Brian O’Rourke said one of the goals of the academy is to create ambassadors in the community for the department.
“I think some of the dividends of the program again go back to the support we get in the community. There is very little disinformation that I hear about police work, or what EPD is doing,” O’Rourke said. “I would hope the people who’ve been through the citizens academy are spreading our message. And I think they are, and I think it shows.”