Letter: Citizens Academy is eye-opening

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2023

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When I first moved to Albert Lea in 2015, I really wanted to get to know my community better. I signed up for the Albert Lea Police Department Citizen’s Academy. I still have fellow students I met who took the class and we still connect. Being able to see the 911 center, the SWAT team, the bike patrol, the gun range, and playing crime scene technician as we solved a crime (the butler was guilty) was a blast and enjoyable. It was the highlight of my week. I also took the class to understand our police department better and to show my support for law enforcement. I was totally amazed by everything this size department is able to do and the commitment to community policing. I would strongly recommend you take the class. The Albert Lea Police Citizens Academy is a community police program started in May 2001. The program offers comprehensive information on the Albert Lea Police Department’s operation policies and procedures. It is a free course that includes an optional four-hour ridealong with a police officer on a tour of duty. The mission of this program is to forge cooperation and trust between citizens and the Albert Lea Police Department.

The classes are instructed by members of the Albert Lea Police Department. Participants will hear on topics such as hiring, FTO (field training officer), police equipment, narcotics, use of force, CSI (crime scene investigations), community service officer (CSO) program, and DUI investigations, among others. The program is lecture and hands-on. The Citizen’s Academy will be from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday evenings beginning on March 23 and culminating with a graduation ceremony on May 15.

Applicants should reside or work in the city of Albert Lea. Applicants must be 18 years of age and submit to a limited background investigation. Classes are limited to 15 applicants. Applications can be obtained at Albert Lea City Hall, the Freeborn County Government Center (dispatch window) or by contacting Lt. Jeff Strom at 507-377-5254 or by email at jstrom@ci.albertlea.mn.us. The application deadline is Feb. 24.

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John Mitchem
Albert Lea