SPECIAL REPORT: Citizen’s Police Academy Part I
First year Criminal Justice students from Husson University strap on police duty belts and arm themselves with fake guns.At Citizen’s Police Academy they’re the cops, while the officers are the bad guys.It’s a chance for the students to see what really goes on when officers are called out.”They get to see us as human beings, not just a person in a uniform. They get to know us a little bit so it becomes that personal connection,” says Sgt. Scott Wilcox with the Orono Police Department.A personal connecton that could lead to preventing crime and saving lives.”When crimes come in, they’re more likely to call us on. If they see something suspicious, they’re more likely to call us so it’s been a really good partnership between the Orono Police Department,” Wilcox said.The Orono Police Department hosts citizen’s police academy twice a year. “They get the ride along with a police officer. They get to come in and we also do a training with them at Penobscot Regional Communication where they learn about dispatch out of Bangor,” Wilcox added.While they teach ordinary citizens about their jobs, it also serves as a learning experience for the officers.”We educate them on what we do and they can educate us on what the needs of the community is,” Wilcox said.It’s a glimpse into the future for students like Jess Poulin, who plans on becoming a police officer.”I really love this. This is something I’ve always wanted to do so I’m glad to be doing something closer than school, you know. It’s nice to have this opportunity,” she said.25 students from Husson were in the class with TV 5′s Diana Bosch.But before they were put in real life simulations, they learned the basics, like shooting a gun and putting on handcuffs.”I think these days when you talk to the average college, university student, Husson, elsewhere, they want to get out of the classroom. They want to have the experience of going in and applying what they’re learning,” says Criminal Justice professor Cornell Plebani.Coming up Wednesday night, see what happens when we respond to different calls, such as a suicidal male and a domestic violence situation.