Waukee Police Department’s Citizens Academy Graduates Its Fourth Class
Every year, the Waukee Police Department puts on its popular Citizens Academy, a 10-week intensive class during which civilians learn about local law enforcement straight from the source. The sessions are designed to provide hands-on opportunities whenever practical. Instructors are certified police officers, supervisors or other law enforcement experts.
“This was the fourth year for the Academy, and each year we see a lot of interest from community members,” said Waukee Police Sergeant Jeremy Long. “We teach them what it’s like to be a police officer, but really the program is about community outreach and developing positive relationships with people.”
The 2017-2018 class consisted of 16 Waukee residents and business owners. It started in November with presentations about the history of the Waukee Police Department, standards and ethics and patrol tactics. Throughout the winter, the citizen cadets learned about criminal investigations, traffic stops, defensive tactics, OWI enforcement, firearms usage and safety, community policing, homicide investigations and more. The group even got to tour the Department of Criminal Investigation (DCI) Laboratory in Ankeny.
“What surprised me most about my time in the Academy was when we went to the DCI Lab in Ankeny and saw all the ways they have of preserving evidence,” said participant Jacob Boekhoff. “They can match handwriting even when it’s covered in various substances.”
Boekhoff was interning with the Waukee Police Department at the same time. He was quick to name his most memorable sessions from the experience. “Getting to fire a Glock 22 as part of the firearms class was exciting, and it was important to see this part of how officers train,” he said. “I also enjoyed the F.A.T.S. [Firearms Training Simulator] machine because it takes you through different virtual scenarios, and you have to try and de-escalate them and respond accordingly.”
Kristin Hawks, another 2017-2018 Academy participant, has lived in Waukee for nearly five years. Her friend recommend she apply for the Waukee Police Citizens Academy. The Navy veteran who once worked at the Polk County Jail enjoyed the firearms simulator as well.
“It gave us an idea of the type of tense situations in which officers find themselves needing to make quick decisions,” she said.
Hawks said the most surprising thing about the Waukee Police Department is the number of community outreach programs it runs. Citizens learned all about community policing initiatives such as Safety City, Public Safety Day, Shop With A Cop and Waukee Area Seniors and Police (WASP).
“The Waukee PD is full of amazing and caring people,” said Hawks. “Everyone I met really wants to make a difference in the community and help the Waukee citizens. I feel very fortunate to live in Waukee and be protected by some of the best officers around!”
Sgt. Long said he often hears that reaction from Academy participants. “People often have negative beliefs about law enforcement agencies or officers,” he said. “It’s a real privilege to be able to dispel those beliefs by helping community members understand the depths of our jobs and our commitment to public safety.”
The Class of 2018 held its graduation ceremony on Jan. 25 at the Waukee Public Safety Building. This class also wraps up Sgt. Long’s time as the program’s coordinator. Sgt. Mackenzie Sposeto will take the reins for the 2018-2019 session. Registration for the next session will open in October. Check Waukee.org/citizensacademy for details.
The group photo from Citizens Academy graduation – Back row (L-R): Chief John Quinn, Justin Trevillyan, Intern Jacob Boekhoff, Bryant Welles, Gary Lewis, Todd Wheeler, Ahmad Ludin, Shade Patterson and Matt Hackett; Front row (L-R): Sgt. Jeremy Long, Lesa Quinn, Michelle Rogers-Johnson, Toni Coughlin, Kristin Hawk, Geoffrey Jones and Sgt. Mackenzie Sposeto.
Defensive tactics – Kristin:
Participants, including Kristin Hawks on the far right, learned defensive tactics in Week 4.
Jacob Boekhoff accepted his Citizens Academy certificate from Sgt. Jeremy Long and Chief John Quinn. Boekhoff, a senior at Dallas Center-Grimes High School, also interned with the Waukee PD.
Sgt. Jeremy Long showed Geoffrey Jones how to use the Firearms Training Simulator.
Lt. Cunningham taught the group about field sobriety tests during the OWI unit.