By Kaity Coisman
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Police Department has opened applications for Brown County residents to join its next Citizens Police Academy.
The program provides area residents with an opportunity to get a look inside the department.
Participants will learn from a variety of specialists in different divisions of the police force including the Marine Unit, Dive Team, K-9 Unit and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT).
They will also hear from law enforcement officers, investigators and recruiting staff as well as meet the forensics team and test their skills in hands-on demonstrations.
The Citizens Police Academy started back in the 90s but has been running consistently for about 14 years.
The last 10 years of the program have been spear-headed by Melanie Skalmoski, the Green Bay Police Department Crime Prevention Coordinator
“It’s a program that allows citizens to get an inside look into the police department and our specialty units… I know it has always been a way for the citizens to meet officers and to just get a more in-depth view… I think at this current day, it is probably more important for people to understand and know how we do things, why we do things, so everyone has more in-depth knowledge of what happens,” said Skalmoski.
Division supervisors and team leads will present a perspective on their respective units.
“Our first topic is our dive team and our marine unit so we have the supervisors of the unit do the presentation or one of the team leads on that specialty unit because we have over 200 employees here, and I think that it is important to have those that are really involved in it to communicate what their unit is about and what their division is about, so we do use multiple instructors for the Citizens Academy,” Skalmoski explained.
In many of the presentations, there will also be hands-on demonstrations and learning experiences for participants to take part in.
“One that we normally do is with our forensics unit. They are the ones that normally do fingerprinting, crime scene photography, videography, some of the things that you might think when you watch TV shows and get the real-world view of what that actually looks like. We also have demonstrations from our K-9 unit, and you will have our dive team come in and get to see and feel their equipment; feel how heavy it is, all the gear that they have, to really get an understanding of what happens that you might think you know, and there are all kinds of shows out there, but this is a real-life experience of what really happens at a local police department,” added Skalmoski.
The program will be held on Wednesdays, Aug. 30 – Oct. 18, 6-8 p.m. in the Green Bay City Hall Council Chambers, 100 Jefferson Street.
“If you are curious as to the day-to-day operations of a law enforcement agency and want to learn more about the functions of the GBPD, the Citizens Police Academy is the perfect environment to do those things,” said Skalmoski.
Primary registration will be available to Brown County residents and first-time attendees, but the program will also be open to those in the surrounding area.
The class size will be limited to 30 students.
To register, completed forms must be mailed or dropped off at the Green Bay Police Department, 307 S. Adams St., Green Bay, WI 54301 or emailed to Crime Prevention by Friday, Aug. 25.