Citizens Police Academy

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The Coral Springs Police Department is now taking applications for participants in the 27th Class of the Citizens Police Academy.     The Academy begins on September 19, 2007 and ends with graduation on December 17, 2007.     Classes are held on Wednesday evening from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the Public Safety Building.

Established in June 1994, the Citizens Police Academy offers participants an inside look at law enforcement operations and an opportunity for hands-on experience in various areas of police work that are covered in the curriculum.     The Citizens Police Academy is open to any Coral Springs resident or Coral Springs business owner over 18 years of age.     In addition to residents, members of the clergy, City Commissioners, and local business owners are among the Academy’s graduates.

Applicants should call either Joanne Lavoro at 954-346-1232 or Nereida Milenkovic at 954-346-1278 to register.     MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA ARE ENCOURAGED TO ENROLL.


Your Course in How the Coral Springs Police Department Works

One of the Students gets ready to try out the computer scenario generator. 

You were going a little too fast. A siren sounds and you see flashing lights in your rear mirror. You pull over to the right. The Policeman follows you. He steps out of his car. He grabs his belt and lifts it up. Here is the first lesson that you learn in the Citizens Police Academy: The belt is heavy that is why he lifts it up. The 2nd thing you learn is that Police are human beings.

Citizens Police Academy is a course in how the Coral Springs Police Department operates.  It is offered to any citizen 18 years or older, and is free of charge.  Class size is limited to no more than 30. The course is a total of 13 weeks, and a certificate is given at the end  of it (that’s if you pass). I enrolled in this course, to get a better understanding as to how our police department works.

Captain Jeff Maslan

The Academy started several years ago, when Major Chudnow decided that we needed some way of developing an understanding between the citizens of our community and the police force. The best way he had envisioned was to remove the mystery of the police department and tell the public exactly how it really is. He developed the course outline and in in the past several years more than 200 citizens have taken the course.  Today, the Course is overseen by Captain Jeff Maslan who has been with the department for over 17 years.  Every Wednesday night for 13 weeks he introduces guest speakers from  the various departments within the police force.  It is  well run. Captain Maslan along with  Nereida Rodriguez and Kristin Rightler, keep things moving so that you are never bored. As an added ‘boost’, there is always a fresh pot of coffee and of course….donuts, available for the students.  Captain Maslan provides candid personal experiences combined with his professional ability.  All this is  mixed with the enthusiasm of telling their story…..Just like the TV show Dragnet.  

Special Response Team Gives Howard a Gun

From the first class to the last, you are captivated by the material that they present to you without any ‘chocolate coating ‘ to it. You learn about the way they spend our tax money, and how they recruit police officers. You are given an opportunity to hear first hand form the officers themselves the good aspects of being a police officer to the fears and let downs that they all  experience.

Nothing is withheld and no question is left unanswered. As an example, I asked one officer of the Traffic Unit if there are any ticket quotas, as I thought that they must give out a certain amount of tickets as ordered by the Chief.  The answer made a lot of sense. He indicated that there is no need for quotas in Coral Springs.  There are more than enough motorists that make sure he is kept busy. I didn’t believe him at first. During one of the classes,  we were allowed to use his radar gun on Coral Springs Drive in front of the police station, and there was the evidence. As we pointed the radar gun randomly at motorists heading north from Royal Palm Blvd,  we saw the digital display read above 60 miles an hour as several motorist exceeded the speed limit of 45. And these speeders were doing it right in front of the police station! His comment was “if they do it in front of the police station, can you imagine University Drive?” There is no need for quotas since there are enough motorists to oblige him, every minute of the day.

Police show how it’s done

There were several times during the course that the serious aspects of being a policeman came to light.  We were given a glimpse into how Child Abuse is handled by the police force. It was heartbreaking being presented with child abuse cases, and seeing first hand through photographs of what it is like to deal with this sort of crime.    Then there were the ever growing domestic violence crimes that were discussed with the Domestic Violence Team members.  It was frightening to hear that women who are abused by their husbands rarely press charges.  We were told that on average it takes a women  7 calls to the police before she finally agrees to deal with her spouses abuse. Even then we are told by the police, these crimes rarely go before the court as all too often she reluctantly refuses to testify. Call after call the police return to her house, and so goes some of the frustration that goes along with being a police officer.

911 Police and Fire Rescue Center

We were introduced to the 911 Police and Fire Rescue Department.  They gave us a good idea of what it is like in dealing with distress calls. We listened to actual 911 emergency calls that were handled by their department. It was incredible to learn how cool they really are in dealing with life and death issues.

One week, we are presented with Vice and Narcotics Unit.  We learned first hand how drugs are dealt with by the police department. Undercover agents gave us first hand accounts of what goes on in the streets and schools of our community.

Students Get a feel for the “traffic stop”

How about the Coral Springs Royal Mounted Police Force A.K.A. the Coral Springs Bike Unit? How many miles do they travel and how do they keep cool in the hot weather. We were presented with the facts. This effective unit is another mechanism against crime in our city.

All during the course, you are encouraged to ride with the officers as many times as you want. You can even sit with the 911 department. The Field work is important for you to get a better understanding of it all.

You also get a good feel for the K-9 unit, the Police Quadrupeds that save policeman’s lives daily and sniff there way around  finding the odd Visit The Police K9 Homepages

Cocaine pouch here or there. One of the beautiful dogs was brought into class with a tennis ball in its mouth. This dog wanted to play! We found out exactly how the dogs are trained. It was good to learn that when a police dog is retired, they are given to their handler to live out a normal life in their home.

Some of the Coral Spring Police Officers who demonstrated in the course

The final lesson is at the training facilities located in Northwest Coral Springs.  There, we were actively involved in the most dangerous part of being a police officer.  The Traffic Stop.  We were given the very same scenarios that the police are trained with and we had to properly approach a stopped vehicle. Off duty police officers got involved in the ‘act’ and some realistic moments evolved into active discussions as we all participated in determining safe approaches. Then came the domestic violence scenarios where police practice their techniques in handling another most dangerous call. There is nothing that can compare to a husband and wife fighting with each other, especially when they are both armed.

Week after week, paraded in front of us were all the Coral Springs Police Departments including ,  Communications, 911 Unit, Humane Unit, Homicide, Burglary, Auto Thefts, Child abuse, Sex Abuse, Domestic Violence, Narcotics, Vice, Special response Team, Juvenile Justice System, even the Chaplain Unit. In 13 weeks all we could have possibly absorbed, was only a small amount of information.  Yet this was enough to give each and everyone in the class a taste of what it is like to be in the law enforcement business here in Coral Springs.

Class Graduation!

About halfway into the course you really get the feeling that a policeman’s life is full of pressure. As you speak and ask questions you realize that it takes a very special person to become a policeman, especially in Coral Springs.  But, the one overall impression that you get is a proud feeling and a safe one.  You have now developed a whole new respect for our law officers. It’s not always donuts and coffee. It is always our  protection first.

The Coral Springs Police Academy’s next course begins in September.  I would recommend it to everyone and anyone. If you are interested, get in touch with Nereida Rodriguez at 346-1278. Tell her Howard sent you

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