The Beeville Police Department is in the process of developing a citizens police academy, much like the one in Corpus Christi. The program is about halfway complete and is set to launch in January.
The Police Department said this is not about creating vigilantes, and has nothing to do with the average civilian strapping on a uniform and going out to patrol their neighborhoods. The objective is not to train individuals to be reserve police officers.
Instead, what the program is designed to do is produce informed citizens.
Officer Greg Baron said the program gives civilians a chance to meet the officers and get to know who they are. At the same time, officers will get to know the civilians.
The civilians participating in the academy will get an inside look at the police department, and get to learn information that the general person on the street doesn't know about, including some tactical insight. Police also hope the academy will clear up some confusion that the public has as to what the law actually allows police to do.
"A lot of this is, sometimes we get complaints that the public feels that they're not being served, but what they don't realize is, if you call us because your former roommate won't give back your lazy chair, this is not a criminal situation," Baron said. "This is a civil situation, and the police department doesn't have authority here."
The program will make it mandatory for each student to do at least one ride-along. There's also going to be a felony stop or mock pursuit portion of the school.
The academy won't be open to just anybody. You will have to pass a background check. 15 people will be accepted.
The police department is going to put the applications out in November. The 13-week program is geared toward civic-minded members of the community.
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