NEWBURYPORT — Those interested in exploring the inner workings of the Newburyport Police Department, and in the process learning CPR and riding in a police cruiser, are invited to take part in the department's newest Citizens Police Academy beginning later this month.
The free 10-week program begins Monday, March 26, inside the Green Street police station and will be conducted by City Marshal Thomas Howard and many of his junior officers. Up to 25 people can sign up.
Howard called the academy a great partnership between the community and his department, adding it would help dispel many of the myths associated with police work along with making the public more willing to reach out to officers.
"You get to realize it's different than a TV show where everything is solved in 38 minutes," Howard said.
Each week, academy students will delve into a different aspect of police work, from how police respond to a motor vehicle accident to field trips to the Essex County Sheriff's Department in Middleton.
"That's really a good piece of it," Howard said.
Howard said students can participate in as much or as little as they choose, making the academy a very stress-free experience.
The police department has been holding academies on and off for more than a decade as it is considered another outreach tool to the community, much like the department's annual open house.
Instructors will be well-trained in their fields and committed to provide great experiences for participants, Howard said.
Veteran police officer Charles Vorderis, who has taught at some of the earlier academies, said not only do students benefit from the experience, but also he and fellow officers. As each officer has a speciality, be it riding one of the department's mountain bikes to being a firearms trainer, the academy gives officers a bit of cross-training, Vorderis said.
"It a great program, I find it very informative myself," Vorderis said.
Applicants must be 21 years or older, or as young as 18 if they are accompanied by an adult. Limited background checks will be conducted on all applicants and convicted felons or those with lengthy criminal records may not be selected to participate.
To obtain an application for the Citizens Academy, call the Newburyport Police Department at 978-462-4411 x1002, visit the station at 4 Green St., or email firstname.lastname@example.org