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Insight from WFPD: Ten years of Citizens Police Academy

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The West Fargo Police Department is announcing the start of its 20th session of the Citizens Police Academy on Thursday, February 18. This 12-week program, both informative and fun, has been a popular and educational learning experience for the citizens of West Fargo.

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Ten years ago the West Fargo Police Department took on the challenge of developing a program that would open the doors of the police department to the citizens they serve. The vision was to educate the citizens about the day to day operations, their responsibilities within the community and the many different tasks they are challenged with on a daily basis.

Offered in both the spring and fall free of charge, the program is designed to increase understanding between the citizens and the police through lectures and hands-on training sessions that introduce the citizens to several police topics including: investigations, registered offenders in our community, SWAT and Bomb teams, DUI's, traffic stops, drug enforcement, firearms, the Cass County jail, defensive tactics, ride alongs and much more.

Over 200 citizens have already participated in the program and the positive response has been wonderful.

Class number 17 graduate Kathy Lewin stated: "West Fargo Citizens Police Academy is an educational course that I would recommend to everyone. The course taught us about personal safety, safeguarding our homes and being aware of our surroundings.  We saw many aspects of law enforcement, giving us a greater understanding on how the department serves our community.  Twelve weeks may seem like a long time, but it goes by so quickly and you want more.  Kudos's to the West Fargo Police Department for offering this program."

Class number 19 graduate Kim Jerger commenting on her experience said: "My husband, James and I recently completed the West Fargo Citizens Police Academy. The academy was 12 weeks long.  Not sure what to expect going in, we experienced fingerprinting/Investigations, Canine, Drug awareness, Target shooting, Tasers, SWAT, tour of the Jail and so much more.  My favorite part was meeting several officers and learning how down to earth they are.  Perception is often mistaken that police are hardcore and out to get you. But they are just like us.   The fact is:  they promote safety~ protecting each other and assuring our community is safe.  They are a very close-knit family and have much pride in their jobs.  We also learned that they may rely on the community to help them.  Our eyes and ears are very useful.   The community they serve is very important to each of them and that is why they do what they do. We are lucky to have such a great team! The Academy is available to help the citizens of West Fargo be more aware of these things.  It was fun to get to know the other academy attendees as well. The classes were so informational. Hands-on being the key to it all and so much fun!"

Jody Whiting, class number 13 graduate, stated: "The Citizens Policy Academy was a great experience for me and I think it's a wonderful program put on by WFPD for the public to take part in!  It's a very informative program that gets participants involved in many hands-on activities such as firing duty weapons, driving squad cars, fingerprinting, ride-alongs and so much more. It gave me a greater understanding and appreciation for all the responsibilities and duties the PD is involved in on a day-to-day basis. Many thanks to all who are involved in putting on this great program."

Those interested in participating in the Citizens Academy can find the application online at www.westfargopolice.com and at the West Fargo Police Department. For additional information, call 433-5500.

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