Wanted: People who want to re-claim their neighborhoods

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 2, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

The 12th session of the Suffolk Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy recently graduated five more local people who are now armed with knowledge and tools make their neighborhoods safer places to live and work.

The graduates include Charles Lowder, Anna Boose, Dorothy Harris, Nicole Morgan and Maureen Holland. Each of them received a certificate for their completion of the Citizen’s Police Academy.

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The program is designed to help people deter crime in their respective neighborhoods by teaching more about police work through hands-on experience, said Officer John K. Cooke, who helped organize the program.

Classes are held in the police department’s assembly room at 120 North Wellons Street, and participants not only have classroom training but they are also treated to several field trips.

&uot;Some of those field trips take the academy students to Western Tidewater Regional Jail and Chesapeake Public Safety Academy’s firing range, among other places,&uot; said Officer J. H. Jackson, who also coordinates the program. &uot;Participants also will learn safe firearms handling through actual hands-on experience, and there is also an excursion to observe a demonstration in marine operations, and an exhibition of the Community Emergency Response Team.&uot;

Police officers, detectives, crime scene investigators, and alumni of previous sessions will speak to the class on their various law enforcement experiences. For example, Commonwealth’s Attorney C. Philips Ferguson and his assistants often discuss crime and punishment in Suffolk.

As a result of this extensive training, graduates of the academy often establish Neighborhood Watch programs in their respective communities. The program is just one &uot;civilian&uot; tool that a community can use to help police clean up the crime in a neighborhood.

With the success the Citizen’s Police Academy, more seminars are planned. A date for the next session has not been set, but look for an announcement in the News-Herald. Anyone interested in becoming a candidate should pick up an application at any Suffolk library branch, the Municipal Building’s information desk, police headquarters, or any police precinct. Applications are also available on the police department’s Web site, www.city.suffolk.-va.us/police. For more information, call 923-2350.