Participants needed for sheriff's program

Application for academy for citizens due Feb. 14

January 19, 2003

The Harford County Sheriff's Office will hold its annual Citizens Police Academy every Thursday evening from March 6 through June 12.

The Sheriff's Office encourages community groups, businesses and elected officials to nominate individuals to participate.

The free, 14-week program is designed to provide county residents with a better understanding of the Sheriff's Office and to foster a partnership between the office and the community.

Enrollment is limited to 25 students. To register, call the Harford County Sheriff's Office Training Academy at 410-638- 3860. The closing date for applications is Feb. 14.

Created by Sheriff Joseph P. Meadows, the Citizens Police Academy was created to give participants a greater understanding of the organization of the Sheriff's Office and the laws that help define agency policies and procedures. Weekly classroom instruction will include overviews of nearly every aspect of office operations, from patrol services and criminal investigation to the agency's K-9 Unit, Dive Team and Crisis Negotiation Team.

Deputies also will provide presentations on topics such as personal safety, drug identification and gang activity.

Students will supplement their classroom learning with field trips to the Harford County Detention Center in Bel Air, the Harford County Emergency Operations Center in Hickory, the Sheriff's Office Evidence Collection Facility and the Sheriff's Office Southern Precinct in Edgewood and the newly built Northern Precinct in Jarrettsville.

Meadows created the academy after several high-profile national events caused public perception of police officers to falter.

As part of the academy, students learn Sheriff's Office policies governing the use of force and have the opportunity to use the agency's Firearms Training System. This video training system lets students experience, in as realistic a setting as possible, the milliseconds in which police officers are sometimes forced to make life-and-death decisions.

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