The Madera Police Department has begun its seventh Citizen’s Police Academy, aimed at building partnerships within the local community.
The class, which will run for 13 weeks (in addition to a graduation ceremony) is a crash course in the operations of the police, not only in Madera but nationwide as well.
“The Citizen’s Academy is the Madera Police Department’s cornerstone program to introduce the Madera Police Department to the community,” Madera Police Chief Steve Frazier said. “It’s a 13-week program that we can interact with our citizens, we can walk them through who we are, what we do, and why we do it, and ultimately, the whole goal is to create those partnerships.”
Students in the Citizen’s Academy will learn the various operations and functions of the police, and will partake in such activities as dusting for fingerprints, shooting firearms, and driving a police car through an obstacle course.
“So we’re in Class 7, and this is the second class,” said Det. Alicia Keiser. “We did the intro, we did the tour last week, and then this week is how to become an officer, and the hiring process, and all that.”
One student in the Citizen’s Academy is Stephanie Pantoja, 20, who joined in the hopes of learning more about the department, and what it means to work in law enforcement.
“The first thing we learned, well I learned a lot (was) the actual department,” Pantoja said, “so they gave us a tour, and they took us to every room, which is pretty cool.”
Pantoja tried out for the department on Feb. 18, but was not accepted as a recruit. She remains, however, undeterred in her aspirations.
The Madera Police Department is expected to finish the academy class before the end of May.