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Lincoln Police to host citizen's awareness academy

Applications due by Dec. 11
By: Brandon Darnell, News Messenger Reporter
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The Lincoln Police Department is taking applications through Dec. 11 for its free citizen’s awareness academy. The academy is designed to give citizens a better idea of how the police department operates and the role it plays in the community, said Chief Brian Vizzusi at the orientation for potential academy attendees Dec. 4. “We want to create a better partnership with our community,” Vizzusi said. The orientation was attended by approximately 25 residents, ranging from curious citizens to those who want a career in law enforcement. Most people believe the police and the community are two separate entities, Vizzusi said. “We want you to feel like we’re part of the community, because we are.” The department’s two most important issues, Vizzusi said, are crime prevention and reaching out to citizens before they get into trouble. He said the Police Activities League and other community efforts are instrumental in that, and the academy will help as well. The academy will include an overview of many of the police department’s responsibilities and duties, including: - An overview of the department, with information on the organizational chart and where the budget goes - A demonstration with the canine unit - Speakers from the regional SWAT team - Information on gangs and drugs - The option to take a ride-along with a patrol officer - Mock crimes attendees will attempt to solve “You’ll also hear about our COP (Citizens on Patrol) program,” Vizzusi said. “They’re the jewel of our department.” The COPs help with many of the administrative tasks for the department and have saved Lincoln more than $325,000, Vizzusi said in August. Vizzusi added that in the next year, the Lincoln Police Department will be looking to add between 20 and 30 new volunteers, and that the academy is a great way to learn more. “I highly recommend that if you want to be a volunteer, you go through the academy, but you don’t have to” said Community Service Officer Paul Tyler. He added that it’s not necessary to attend the orientation to make it into the academy. “Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to be a cop,” said Alex Underwood of Lincoln, who currently attends Sierra College. “I think the academy will be a good eye-opener.” Vizzusi, who teaches at Sierra College, said attending the academy is a great idea for those who want a career in law enforcement. “I was just kind of curious about the police department and what kinds of things they do,” said Jose Tellechea of Lincoln. “I want to learn a bit more about what they do.” “This will be my seventh academy, and the 41st agency I’ve done a ride-along with,” said Barbara Price of Sacramento. “I’m a wannabe cop, and this is a great way to get involved.” The class will start at 7 p.m. Jan. 8 and will last for an hour and a half. The academy will be made up of 10 such classes. “We’re only going to take 25,” Tyler said. “We do plan on having more in the future.” For more information, contact Paul Tyler at 645-4083. Applications can be picked up at Police Headquarters in Beermann Plaza, or online this week at lincolnpd.org.