Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Locals graduate from GPD Citizen’s Police Academy

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Gatesville residents recently had the opportunity to learn what it takes to work as an officer in law enforcement.

On March 21, the Gatesville Police Department held their final class and graduation ceremony for the Citizen’s Police Academy, a community outreach program that aims to give citizens an enhanced awareness and understanding of law enforcement’s role in the community. This was GPD’s first time to open the academy since 2019 and following the outbreak of COVID-19.

During the ceremony, Gatesville Police Chief Brad Hunt and other Gatesville police officers honored the eleven graduates of the program.

“I do not know how to express in words how much it means to us to get to spend this much time with the community and explain to them why the police do what they do, how they are trying to do what they do, and the kind people that we have that are trying to do good things for their community,” Hunt said.

The students in the academy spent about three hours once a week in various training sessions and learning about different topics in law enforcement, such as animal control operations, crime scene processing, firearm safety, building searches, traffic stops, dispatch operations, and more.

In the final class, the students participated in a drunk carts demo, where they wore special goggles to simulate drunk driving. They also received a presentation on narcotics from a GPD narcotics detective.

One of the graduates, Leo Corona, shared why he decided to sign up for the academy.

“I took this because I wanted to see what the atmosphere was like for the officers that were training us,” Corona said. “That gave me a feel for how they felt about us on the civilian side. The other one was just to get an aspect of how the city operates as a police department and what they do and how they handle themselves.”

Barbara Burrow, who also serves on the Gatesville City Council, said she wanted to have a better understanding of the risk law enforcement put themselves through every day.

“It was just so real on this traffic stop thing to see the kind of pushback that a driver might provide to the officer that is presenting themselves with all best interest,” Burrow said. “That was really interesting, and I’m enjoying to know that we have a drug investigator, finally. That has been long overdue, and I’m so glad to hear the initial positive results about that, too.”

Burrow encourages others to sign up for the academy when classes reopen.

According to the Gatesville Police Department’s Facebook page, the department hopes to hold another course later this year.  

“I would just like to thank the Gatesville Police Department for taking the time (to do) this course, and again, it’s very informative all around,” Corona said.