By Conor Lowery
HOBART – The Hobart/Lawrence Police Department (HLPD) is hosting a “Citizens Police Academy” program from February to March, founded to raise awareness of the functions of police work in local communities.
The program uses HLPD resources to help the community understand the roles police officers play.
“The academy is designed to give insight to the community on police systems, and to build more positive relationships with those systems,” stated HLPD Police Chief Michael Renkas
Classroom lecture provides an overview of the department and the ongoing problems faced by both the HLPD and the community.
For the HLPD, this is a new program, but it is a common program among police departments across the country.
According to Renkas, the program will include an explanation of police conduct expectations, police resources, a tour, use of squad vehicles and use of force.
Renkas also emphasized that the program would feature an explanation of the HLPD’s two K-9 units, one of which is intended for narcotics control and the other intended for therapy purposes.
The program will discuss both firearms training and the use of less lethal weaponry such as tasers, as well as explaining some of the technology used in community police work and teasing that there may be a surprise revealed during the event.
“We’re also getting a new piece of technology,” said Renkas, “but that might be a spoiler.”
The program is also intended for community outreach and education.
“I am a new chief wanting to be more involved with the community,” said Renkas, adding that he is also working to build trust and mutual support with local communities.
The program is open to Hobart/Lawrence citizens age 18 or older and applications are due Jan. 15 and may be found at www.facebook.com/HobartLawrencePolice or by visiting the department.
“We obviously have to do a background check,” Renkas added.
The program will be held Thursdays for eight weeks 6-8 p.m.
Renkas hopes the program will play a significant role in helping the community learn more about police work, its challenges and the systems of police work and the tools provided.
“This program is designed to let people get that ‘behind the scenes’ view, and ‘hands-on experience,” said Renkas. “I think it’s going to be a great event for the community.”
For more information, contact Officer Sarah Manning at (920) 869-3824 or [email protected].