Clayton State University’s Department of Public Safety wrapped up its inaugural Citizens Police Academy on Dec. 5 graduating 12 students from the program.
"We feel that the inaugural Citizens Academy was a success,” said Clayton State Chief of Police Bobby Hamil. “The takeaway for the students is to give a better understanding of the responsibilities and challenges that law enforcement faces every day and that they do take the job seriously. We feel like it is a respected profession, and we take great pride and responsibility for keeping the campus safe.”
The nine-week program offered students an inside look into law enforcement and policing. Topics ranged from use of force to active shooter response to crime scene investigations. Students witnessed demos from local K-9 and SWAT teams. University patrol officers conducted traffic stop simulations and vehicle pullovers.
Campus police also educated participants on police liability, civil rights issues and search and seizure.
For sophomore Destiny Brookshire, the Citizens Police Academy served as an opportunity to learn more about the career field she wants to pursue after graduation.
“I want to be a forensic scientist,” she said. “[The Academy] explained to me how all the different systems and agencies go together to solve crimes. They’ll be working with me, so it’s beneficial to learn more about their jobs and how they affect what my future career is.”
Junior Trey Cureton said the Academy allowed him to meet the people behind the badge and understand the complexity of an officer’s job.
“Policing isn’t just simply pulling you over, writing you a ticket and then going off. There’s mountains of paperwork and several protocols they go through,” Cureton explained.
Cureton said the interaction with the officers coupled with the classroom instruction helped dispel myths about policing and develop a better understanding of their role in the community.
“When I walk by a police car, I don’t just see a guy in a car who might be looking to see if I’m doing something wrong,” he said. “I see an officer who I’ve met and who I’ve talked to, and I wave at him, he waves back and I have conversation with him. So It’s no longer this wall between us, that rigid wall between authority and us—it’s just all us.”