WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – In an effort to help people understand what police do and how they work, the Warren’s Citizen Police Awareness Academy has graduated another class.
Now in its fifth year, the program was designed with the hopes of improving the relationship between police and the community.
“It’s not like we just go out there with handcuffs and a gun and say, ‘You’re under arrest'” said Warren Police Officer Brian Crites.
Crites said he hopes the academy will help give citizens a better understanding of how the departments function within a police department and why officers take the actions that they do.
The academy is a free, six-week course that covers a variety of topics, including the use of deadly force, internal affairs and the K-9 Unit.
Carol Henderson, an academy graduate, said she found the course informative.
“You wonder sometimes when something happens, ‘Why is this officer still working, and why are they still on the force?'” she said. “They explained the way they have to do things.”
Participants ages 18 and older are also able to ride along with officers and visit the jail as part of the program.
“I understand more how they do things and why they do things,” Henderson said.
Officer Crites said the graduates of the program are almost like ambassadors for the city police department — they are the eyes and ears in the community.
“We need them, and they need us,” he said.
Crites said he has noticed a better line of communication with the community since the program has started. And the participants agree.
“I didn’t have a fear of them before; I just didn’t trust them,” Henderson said. “Now, that has kind of eased out.”
The youngest graduate on Monday was 10.
The next course will start January 4. If you are interested in participating, contact the Warren Police Department at 330-394-2521.
The course is open to all Trumbull County residents.