LMPD educates and encourages community involvement through Citiz - WDRB 41 Louisville News

LMPD educates and encourages community involvement through Citizens Police Academy

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Louisville Metro Police Department is continuing an initiative that will give everyday citizens a way to become more familiar with the work of law enforcement officers.

On Thursday night, LMPD launched its latest series of courses in the department's Citizens Police Academy (CPA). The courses are designed to build a bridge between law enforcement officers and the Louisville community. 

LMPD Lt. Jessie Browning said, “Public are police and police are public. CPAs are a way of honoring the tradition. It's a way of building trust and transparency between law enforcement and the public.”

Lt. Browning said CPAs are a valuable tool for other reasons. “Education and crime prevention is taught, as is the role all citizens can have in reducing and preventing crime. It helps explain why police officers do the things we do. It helps eliminate false expectations, which are usually derived from television.”

CPA courses have been sponsored by LMPD for about the last 10 years, according to Lt. Browning. She said the current round of CPA courses is meant to encourage participants to reflect on issues concerning the LGBT community. Lt. Browning said the LGBT CPA was born out of a collaborative effort between an LMPD District Resource Officer and the Fairness Campaign.

One point Lt. Browning emphasizes is that any CPA course series is open to anyone who wants to join. 

“They are not necessarily geared to a specific cultural group, but provide a safe space for people who share cultural commonalities,” Lt. Browning explained. “Crime affects everybody. It just might impact some people differently on a personal level.”

Previous CPAs have examined issues affecting Latinos, immigrants, youth, college students, the hearing impaired, women and senior citizens. 

“We try to touch all different cultures,” Lt. Browning said. There's talk about a potential future CPA program that would explore the generation gap between youth and adults.

The current CPA series began on Thursday evening and will be held weekly into early April. A series of CPA courses typically lasts between six and twelve weeks. About five academies are held each year, usually in the spring and fall.

CPA courses are typically limited to 25 participants to preserve some vital elements of the courses. “It allows for management and provoking conversations and questions. There's a chance that can get lost,” explained Lt. Browning , about why there's a limited number of participants in a class.

Participants receive information about a variety of topics relevant to police work, including domestic violence, crisis team intervention, neighborhood watch programs and how to volunteer with police. Once attendees receive the information, they are encouraged to reflect on how it impacts their community.

Once participants complete the series of courses, they participate in a graduation ceremony in early April. Lt. Browning says organizers hope the participants come away feeling more empowered about becoming involved with police. “We seek for them to be the voice for the police department and we hope they will be a liaison from the community to us.”

Anyone interested in taking part in the Citizens Police Academy must be at least 18 years old and pass a background check.

Lt. Browning said LMPD hopes the program will continue to grow. “We are very excited to branch out and have more of these conversations. We appreciate the interest that has been generated from this,” she said.

For more information about the LMPD Citizens Police Academy, click here.

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