Citizen Police Academy – Week 1

Carol Stream CPA3

Last night I started up my next session of my Citizen Police Academy (CPA) classes. This time I’m in Carol Stream, the town that I live in. This is a long session – 11 weeks. Which is fine by me! This is the fifth CPA class I’ve now taken, in five different towns. I feel like I could teach the class at this point, I’m so familiar with police procedure! 🙂  But at the same time, towns do things differently, which is what makes these classes so interesting. And as an author who writes about men in uniform, the more information about law enforcement I can get is always a good thing. Plot bunnies can strike at any moment!

This is also a large class – 24 students. Only 4 of which are women. This is the most lopsided class I’ve been in. It’s normally closer to 50/50 men to women. So I’m going to have to step up my game to be noticed and taken seriously! Trust me, that won’t be a problem. 🙂

As with all of the classes I’ve taken, the first night is pretty basic, an overview of the entire police department, how it’s structured, etc. We had the Chief of Police as our first speaker who gave us some stats about the town – 40,000 residents. On average 5% are criminals. So we’ve got 2,000 of them running around my town. Kinda scary. Especially when there are only FIVE patrol officers per shift. The Chief also broke down the procedure for applying to be an officer. On average 300 people apply each year for 1-2 open spots. Your name remains on the list for 3 years. The academy (downstate in Springfield, IL) is 12 weeks in length. After which the rookie spends another 15 weeks riding with their Field Training Officer. The rookies are on probation for 24 months and always start on the night shift.

We have a total of 63 officers. I asked how many were women. We have 7 female officers. Two of which are corporals. They are also number 1 and 2 in line for promotion to sergeant. One of them will become the first female sergeant EVER in the village. Woot! Female power!

Our second speaker was the Deputy Chief in charge of the Patrol Division. He talked to us about how the village is divided up in Zones (my house is in Zone 1) and how the officers are always assigned to the same zone to patrol so that they become intimately familiar with the area and the residents. Which I think is a great idea.

We talked about body cameras since they’re all in the news lately. Currently Illinois law prohibits the recording of anyone’s voice (Eavesdropping Law) so right now body cameras can’t be worn. But the law is currently being rewritten to allow them.

He broke down the top five calls/arrests in the town in 2014: drug paraphernalia (202), marijuana possession (283), domestic battery (295), theft (304) and number one was DUI (345). Our village is known for being the toughest on DUI than any village in the entire STATE. We’ve won awards for it.

Total number of 911 calls in 2014: 10,994. Total number of officer generated calls/stops: 27,853. Making it a total of 38,847 incidents the police responded to in my town in 2014. Yikes!

We talked about the officer’s uniforms and weapons. A kevlar vest will NOT stop a rifle round OR a knife blade. All officers carry a Sig Sauer P226 handgun. The same weapon allows them to share ammunition if needed. Most villages allow officers to carry whatever kind of gun they want, which I think is a bad idea for the reason I just mentioned – not able to share ammo in a situation. Strangely enough, my town does not use tasers! Every other town I’ve been in has them. We also do not have a K9 unit or a dedicated gun range. Both of which are a shame. A kevlar vest, riot shield and helmet and an unloaded Sig Sauer were passed around for each of us to hold. Sig’s are SO much better than Glocks!

We ended the night on a cool note – we got scheduled for our ride-alongs! We thought we wouldn’t be able to do them until after graduation in April. But they’re starting them up next weekend! I am scheduled for Saturday, February 28th from 8:00 pm – 2:00 am. Weekend night shift! Yes! Bring on the action!

Next week we talk about Interrogations, Social Services and Special Operations.

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