by Karly Sacco
The Benedictine University Police Department started a program titled, The Citizen’s Police Academy within their community that begins on January 20.
“These workshops will be focusing on police work and how the things that people see on TV shows are done in real life with hands-on experience,” said Chief of Police at Benedictine University, Michael Salatino.
The first meeting will take place on January 20 and will go on for 8 weeks, ending on March 3 with a graduation ceremony.
“There are about 15 members including students, staff and a few others from the external community that will make up the first class,” said Salatino.
All of the members are going to be given the opportunity to practice what they have learned.
“There will be a ton of hands-on experience for the students to connect what they are reading out of their textbooks to real life and they can apply their knowledge to the real thing,” said Salatino.
Although the Citizens Police Academy cannot be taken for credits at BenU, there are many other benefits that students can gain from attending.
“These workshops are open to everyone, and the law enforcement students will benefit extremely from the hands on experience. We are going to be showing the BenU community how crime is really managed by police officers and how law enforcement deals with specific situations,” said Salatino.
Each session will cover a different area dealing with specific law enforcement procedures and actions.
“What you think you see on TV, we will actually be demonstrating, for example how police investigate crimes, and how law enforcement processes evidence,” said Salatino.
A few members of the BenU police came together to create this opportunity for police education.
“This a voluntary, community program that gives us the chance to let the community of Benedictine University know what Police work is about,” said Deputy Chief at Benedictine University, Paul Careekmore.
Although this is the first of the citizen police academy at Benedictine, the BenU police have a structured plan on how the program will run.
“Our vision of the academy is to reassure our community of the skill level and the resources that we have access to and to show the community how we investigate crime and how law enforcement solves cases,” said Salatino.
The first meeting will take place in a few weeks, and the idea of starting a program of this kind has been in the works for while.
“We have had an idea to start a Citizens Police Academy for some time, and now that are criminal justice program at BenU is thriving, we wanted to enhance the student experience for them,” said Salatino.
Once the program is completed, there will be a graduation ceremony for the participants that completed it and they will receive a dinner, several parting gifts, and a certificate for the Citizen’s Police Academy.
“In the future, we hope to have many more of these Citizen Police Academy workshops, so feedback from students that take the class is very helpful so we know what to keep and what to change with the structure of the program,” said Salatino.