The is now accepting applications for its 20-person, 12-week citizen police academy, where officers volunteer their time to “give citizens a better understanding of what police officers do every day.”
“We see this as a win-win,” Police Officer and Representative Town Meeting member Marc Balestracci said. “We don’t see any downfall with this.”
The police union, in conjunction with the department, agreed to do the program for no cost, Balestracci said. All officers who help teach a class will not be paid for their time, he said.
“I was worried some of the guys wouldn’t want to do it,” said Balestracci, who organized the academy. “But I didn’t get a single no.”
What The Class Includes
The academy holds 20 people, and meets for three hours once a week for 12 weeks, beginning on March 8. There is no cost to attend the academy, and all applicants must either live or work in Waterford.
“We are looking for a good mix from the community,” Balestracci said. “Maybe will get some people who are interested in a career in law enforcement, but older and middle-aged people as well.”
The program covers most aspects of police work, including a Taser demonstration, and courses on criminal investigations, police profiling and crime in Waterford. All people who attend are required to do a three-hour ride-a-long with a police officer.
“For some, that will be a big benefit, for others not so much,” Balestracci said. “We can take you on a weekend night that will be busier, or a Sunday morning that won’t be so busy. But it is totally safe.”
The academy will be held at the police department. To graduate, participants can’t miss more than three classes, Balestracci said.