On May 5, Walthourville officers hosted the city’s inaugural Citizens Police Academy at the Walthourville Police Department on Talmadge Road. “When I first was hired here, I wanted to start programs where we could be interactive with the community and with our citizens, to show that we can work together, and one of the programs is our Citizens Academy,” said Police Chief Alfonza Hagan.
The chief said they had hoped to start the program sooner but had to wait until pandemic numbers began to fall.
In the academy, the public learns what the officers do on a daily basis and gains some insight into what law enforcement are trained to do. Hagan added that it allows citizens to understand and become more cohesive with the department.
Participants meet for two hours one night per week, each Thursday, for 10 weeks. They learn about courtroom demeanor, criminal and civil law and traffic law, and tour the 911 facility. At the end of the program, the participants get a two-hour ride-along with an officer, Hagan said.
Hagan thanked Walthourville Mayor Larry Baker for providing the department with the resources it needs to promote growth and implement new equipment and technology.
He said the city likes to maintain its small-town feel, but it is also important not to remain stagnant and to prepare for growth.
Hagan welcomed the first class and reminded them that his door is always open for people who have questions about him or his department. He told the group that WPD has great officers.
“The theme for the police department is ‘Serving the community with honor and dignity,’ and that is what we are trying to do in the city,” said Mayor Larry Baker. “The city doesn’t belong to me or Chief Hagan and the Police Department. We are in this together.”
When this inaugural class is complete, there will be a two-week break before another class begins.