Take part in Citizens Police Academy

To the Editor:

I recently had the privilege to participate in and complete the 2017 Bedford Citizens Police Academy. It was a terrific experience that I believe every member of the Bedford community should take part in.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Citizens Academy, allow me to explain. By definition the program is “designed to provide Bedford residents with a more detailed understanding and exposure to the Department’s programs, initiatives and activities.” So what does that mean? It is basically the “who, what, where, when and how” of our local police department.

For 10 straight weeks (March-May) participants gather on Tuesday nights to go through a hands-on curriculum designed to educate community members on police work in our town. It will open your eyes well beyond whatever assumptions you have about the police. You should seriously consider applying for the 2018 Citizens Academy. Here are my top seven reasons why:

• Experience Something Unique – Not every town has a Citizens Academy. We are fortunate to have this opportunity in Bedford and should take advantage of it. The course curriculum is top notch. The participating officers who conduct the lessons are truly professionals and passionate about their work.

Fun – Admit it. The child inside of you has always wondered what it would be like to be a police officer. This might be the closest experience you ever get. I don’t want to give away too much, but you might just get the change to search for a runaway “bad guy” in a building, perform a traffic stop, investigate a crime scene, etc…

Learn Something New – Shut the television off and try something new. Learn something from experience and expertise of the officers in our town. They are extremely dedicated to their trade and our community. It is exciting to learn about what they do and how they do it.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone – Much of the course is hands-on. I got to sample “a-day-in-the-life-of” the police officers in our town. Participants put themselves in the officer’s shoes for several of the tasks and scenarios faced by BPD every day. It will challenge you beyond just your day-to-day life.

Networking – This is an added benefit to the course that just happens organically. Throughout the ten week course, the participants build great relationships. New contacts were established and friendships developed. Being newer to the town, I really valued the opportunity to meet new people and build those relationships.

Gain Appreciation – I could not believe the vast responsibilities and challenges that BPD face every day. It goes well beyond just giving out speeding tickets on 101 and South River Road. All kidding aside, they have a great mission to keep our community strong and safe. They accomplish this in numerous ways which you learn about in the course. Your admiration and respect for our officers will grow ten-fold.

The BPD Wants You To – The BPD does not host the Citizens Academy because they like the sound of their own voice. They want all of us there so they build strong connections in the community. They want the citizens of Bedford to understand what they do and how it impacts our neighborhoods, schools and businesses. Do not pass up on this opportunity.

Joshua Solloway