The Mesa Police Department is providing Mesa residents and employees with an opportunity to learn about the operations and resources at the department, in addition to participating in activities through its Citizen Police Academy.
The 12-week academy class that began yesterday, Feb. 22, is full, but those interested in submitting an application for the fall academy starting in September are encouraged to contact the Mesa Police Department Training Section for more information.
The academy familiarizes participants in various police procedures, organization and operations of many units within the Mesa Police Department. In addition, participants will learn about resources available at the department, and identify volunteer positions or other opportunities to become involved.
“We want the citizens of Mesa to know what their police department can offer them, kind of how things work, why things are done the way they are,” said Jennifer Penrose, administrative support assistant with the Mesa Police Basic Training Academy. “We’re very transparent, we want all the citizens to know what resources are available.”
The resources include attending on-site tours of various facilities including Central Substation, Training Facility, Center Against Family Violence, Aviation Unit Hanger, and more. In addition to education, which includes unit presentations in Hiring, SWAT, Special Investigations, Patrol, Volunteers in Police Service, Traffic, Crime Prevention, and K-9, among others.
“Our canines come in, they get a chance to see the dogs, they get to see the equipment that’s being used, we have a patrol vehicle that comes out so they’re able to sit in a patrol car and see what that’s like as well,” Penrose said.
Participants also learn about various responsibilities and tasks performed by the police department including ride-alongs and training tools such as their VirTra machine.
“They have an opportunity to do a ride-along with an officer…they get about a four-hour block. The Saturday class is at our range and they have an opportunity to do some shooting, it is with a simulator, it’s not with an actual firearm,” Penrose said. “They also get a chance to do our new VirTra machine, and that’s an indoor simulator, kind of looks like a big video game, or a piece that works with the system and we can populate a scenario, they can talk through it and we are able to control it and give them different situations.”
Those interested in applying must be 19 years of age, reside or be employed in the city of Mesa or be a family member of a Mesa Police Department employee, have no prior felony arrests, and no misdemeanor arrests within one year of application.
Penrose said there are a lot of different things many people aren’t aware the police department does, and their internal investigations and legal department will speak to participants to help them understand the procedures and legal issues involved.
She highly recommends going to the Citizen’s Police Academy because participants get to interact directly with people who work at the department, and it provides a well-rounded education that shows what the police academy offers, what they do and who they are.
Those interested in applying for the fall academy can call the Mesa Citizen Police Academy Training Section for more information at 480-644-4139 or visit: Mesaaz.gov.
– Mesa resident Alyssa Tufts is a freelance writer for MyNewsMesa.com.