Bridging the gap

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Photo by Robert Noles

OPD holds Citizen’s Police Academy

By Rebekah Martin
Associate Editor

Twenty-five concerned citizens who want to learn more about the Opelika Police Department began this year’s Citizen’s Police Academy March 16. The department originally conducted two sessions a year from 2003-2009, and started it back last year, now holding the annual academy in the spring.
With the tagline “Bridging the Gap,” the
Citizen’s Police Academy is designed to educate and inform the every day Opelika citizen on the structure and goings on of the police department. Classes on each division, presentations by department heads and tours of police department facilities and vehicles happen each Thursday from 6-8 p.m.
Attendees will hear from each of the captains of the police department’s divisions about their respective staff and duties. They will also undergo firearms training toward the end of the academy that will immerse the student in a “shoot or don’t shoot” situation that necessitates a quick decision in a sometimes intense moment. Rookie and veteran police officers alike regularly undergo training with this state-of-the-art system.
Capt. Bobby Kilgore said the CPA is a great way for citizens to become involved and more informed about their police department.
“We’d like for the public to understand exactly what we do … there are a lot of myths about law enforcement and we want to clear up those myths,” Kilgore said. “It is not like you see on television, it’s completely different. People, because they’ve been trained by Hollywood, California, think they know what police officers do and the reality is completely different.”
Kilgore said bridging the gap between citizen and the Opelika Police Force is imperative to having a strong community. “We want to foster a good relationship with our community. No police department can function without the full trust and confidence of the citizens,” Kilgore said. “We want to make sure that the people of Opelika absolutely have full trust and confidence is us.”

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