On Tuesday evening, April 18, 2017, members of the Westfield Police Department's 16th Citizens Police Academy gathered at Shaker Farms Country club to celebrate their graduation from the 12 week class.
The Citizens Police Academy was started in the late 1990's by Officer William Ullrich as part of a Community Policing initiative. The program ran through the late 1990's into the early 2000's when it was taken over by Sgt. Steve Dickinson. After a six year break, the program was started again in 2014 and has run once per year for the past four years.
Over the 12 weeks of study participants learned about criminal law, financial crimes, patrol procedures, domestic violence issues, court systems and procedures, investigations, community policing, school resource officers, dispatch operations, defensive tactics, and they participated in live fire exercises at the firing range. Members of the Westfield Police Department, the Westfield District Court, and Holyoke Juvenile Court all shared their expertise with participants in an effort to teach them more about how and why police officers do what they do, and how the criminal justice system works. The program is educational for participants, and helps to foster a positive relationship between the police and the public we serve.
The Citizens Police Academy runs each year starting the first week of February. Due to classroom size restrictions, the class is limited to 16 participants. Announcements for the 17th Citizens Police Academy will be posted here on the police department web site in January of 2018. Thank you to everyone who participated in and contributed to making the Westfield Police Deartment's16th Citizens Police Academy a huge success!