GFPD wraps up successful Citizen's Academy

GFPD wraps up successful Citizen's Academy Click to Enlarge

The Grand Forks Police Department on Tuesday night concluded its Citizen's Academy, a program where community members learned about virtually every facet of police work--from police officers themselves.

Twenty-six people of various ages and backgrounds attended classes one night a week for eight weeks, and all received certificates at Tuesday night's graduation ceremony.

Kristen Clow of Grand Forks says she learned a lot.

"Our police department has a lot more resources, I think, than we understand as a community," Clow said, "I mean, I've lived here my whole life. I didn't know about the bomb squad, I didn't know about negotiations with the SWAT Team. On some level, I kind of knew they existed, but it was neat to see (police) policies and what they deal with on a daily basis."

Grand Forks retiree Steve Sulland says he'd recommend the program to anyone.

"It was eye-opening, in that we got to see the officers, not off-duty, but kind of 'the people behind the badge,'" Sulland said, "see them as regular people, joking around. Obviously, there's a serious side to their work, but I like the perspective we saw in this class."

Police Lt. Jeremy Moe said the GFPD revived the Citizen's Academy after it was dormant for several years. Moe said this year's program was so successful, the department now plans to offer the Citizens Academy every year.

"This was about getting together with our community," Moe said. "Not only letting them know what we do, but why we maybe do the things that we do, how some of our goals are attained, how do we operate as an organization, how do we interact with people. Part of it was getting that feedback from them, because without our community, we're lost.

"We need (the community) to be in this with us." Moe added. "I think we totally have a great community as it is, but this is a partnership and we want to get that message across."

Moe said the GFPD revived the Citizen's Academy after it was dormant for several years.

The final session ended with Grand Forks Police Chief Mark Nelson addressing the class and giving each member a certificate.

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