JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Residents of Johns Creek can get a real behind-the-scenes look at the Johns Creek Police Department that few others get to see. All they have to do is sign up for the next Johns Creek Citizens Police Academy, starting Aug. 12.
It is a chance to see what police work is like through the officers’ eyes.
The course will be held on Tuesdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Aug. 12 through Oct. 7. One night a week for nine weeks, people get to meet with officers on a host of topics for both classroom instruction and practical demonstrations.
• criminal investigations,
• internal affairs,
• Community Services.
Participants also see demonstrations from the K-9 unit, SWAT team and radKIDS.
Then they participate in practical exercises such as traffic enforcement and felony stops. Perhaps the most popular feature is participation in the Shoot – Don’t Shoot firearms simulation. There, people participate in interactive videos as they go through lifelike simulations in which they have to decide whether to shoot.
Participants stand before a video screen as different scenarios are projected. The participant has a laser gun that will record when he shoots and what he hits.
JCPD Sgt. Debra Kalish, who is in charge of community services, says the Citizen Police Academy is a way to strengthen relationships between police and the academy and gain public support from the community.
“Basically, people get to see a little bit of every different aspect of the police department and what we do,” Kalish said. “A lot of people just don’t realize just how much more there is to policing than just the patrol.”
Kalish says classes are not only informative, they have a lot of fun, too.
“We don’t just talk about how officers conduct a traffic stop, but they see and hear what goes into planning a stop,” she said. “We do a lot of role playing, too.”
Some of the classes are outdoors, such as when they simulate a felony traffic stop. Often they get graduates from the previous four years to participate.
The class can accommodate 25 people, but there is often a waiting list.
The Citizens Police Academy is open to all Johns Creek residents ages 21 and older who successfully pass the application process and a criminal history check. Download the application and criminal history forms at the city’s website or get them at JCPD Headquarters, 11445 Johns Creek Parkway.