Train like police at free academy

July 15, 2011 at 9:38 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

For the first time ever, residents will get to see what it is like to be a police officer in St. Charles Parish by learning the ins and outs of the department.

And as an added bonus, they might also get the chance to fire guns used by sheriff’s deputies.

The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office is now accepting applications for a Citizen’s Police Academy, which involves classroom presentations, interactive instruction and covers a variety of scenarios that deputies in the area deal with.
Topics covered during the free, eight-week training  course include criminal investigations, patrol work, criminal records, court security, special response teams, arrest procedures and more. The final class will be at the Sheriff’s Office firing range and participants may be allowed to fire certain guns used by the department, Sheriff Greg Champagne said.

“Basically, the eight sessions will be in a classroom with speakers from our various divisions, including myself,” he said. “The classes will give a moderately in-depth view of how our agency operates and the procedures used in the various areas.”

In fact, participants are given the same information that police recruits and officers taking in-service training receive, Champagne added. Some classes even include field training and demonstrations.

“It is all designed to give the citizen a deeper perspective on how we operate and what our challenges and demands are,” Champagne said.

Champagne came up with the idea to host a Citizen’s Academy because of the positive reviews he has heard from other agencies that use the program.

“I believe this will lead to a greater appreciation by members of the public for the challenges we face that most people never get to know about,” Champagne said. “I also have found that most people truly don’t understand the criminal justice process other than what they see on TV.”

To qualify for the program, residents must live or work in St. Charles Parish and be 21 years of age or older. They also must provide information necessary for a criminal background check.

The academy sessions will be held each Wednesday from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. beginning Aug. 24. They will take place at the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office at 260 Edward Dufresne Parkway in Luling.

Those interested in attending the academy must fill out an online registration form that can be found at and mail it to the office address provided.

You will be notified upon your acceptance into the academy.

“I am very excited about the bridges we will build with the public,” Champagne said. “Our public here in St. Charles Parish already is very knowledgeable and grateful to us…this will only enhance that.”

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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