Camous police academy offers students real-life look at campus police

Abbey Brown

For anyone in the “university family” who has a beef with the way campus police does things or who wants to see what it’s like to be in the shoes of a police officer, your time has come.

Campus police have created the University Police Academy, an eight-week program that will give students, faculty and staff a taste of what it is like to be a campus police officer.

“The intent of the academy is not to train participants to become law enforcement officers but to develop a mutual respect between the students, faculty, staff members and the police department,” Crime Prevention Officer Joe Harbaugh said.

Western has taken the idea of Bowling Green’s Citizen Academy and the city fire department’s Fire Academy and created their program, the only one in the state that is specifically designed only for students, faculty and staff members.

Harbaugh said they are looking for a diverse group of participants.

“We don’t want the class to be full of pro-police people,” he said. “We are looking for students, faculty and staff who might not have a great image of the police who can question the way things are done and learn why they are done that way.”

The selection committee, made up of leaders from the campus police department, are limiting participation to 20 people.

The University Police Academy, unlike other citizen academies across the state, is going to be a hands-on program. Participants will process crime scenes, make simulated traffic stops, fire weapons at the firing range, go through the bike patrol obstacle course and participate in other activities.

“This is going to be a fun time,” Harbaugh said. “It is not meant to be an extra class. It will be a great learning experience but still fun.”

The academy is slated to happen every spring semester, but if there is a high demand for participation, Harbaugh said they may offer the course during the fall semester as well.

Capt. Eugene Hoofer said the program will be very beneficial for students, faculty and staff.

“I think it is a good way for people to have a better understanding of what we do,” he said.

The academy will run from Feb. 11 to April 8, on Tuesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. Applications are available at the campus police department and are due Jan. 31.

Reach Abbey Brown at [email protected].