Citizens Academy gives an up-close look at police work

CIC COM 0522 Citizens Academy
The Carmel Police Dept.’s Citizen’s Academy Class No. 33 held a graduation ceremony April 30 at Ritz Charles April 30. Pictured are, back from left, CPD Chief Jim Barlow, Barb Ryberg, Scott Keller, Bridget Black, Alicia Miller, Jeff Carter and Dave Ryberg. Front, from left, Joseph Maher, Ed Shaughnessy, Patty Kimball, Vicki Wasy, Nancy Kinnett and Major David Strong. (Submitted photo)

Commentary by Heather Collins

The Carmel Police Dept.’s Citizen’s Academy gives residents a behind-the-scenes look into the daily lives of police officers. I attended the class on April 23 to catch a glimpse of what the department is offering to everyday citizens.

The classes meet weekly, typically on Tuesdays, for about two hours. Each class goes through a different aspect of the department, including ethics, DUI enforcement, special investigations, terrorism, emergency vehicle operations, use of force, tasers and negotiations. The program also includes evidence room tours and a trip to the CPD range.

Each class during the 11-week program is taught by CPD officers. Classes are small, with no more than 16 people.

“The Citizen’s Academy is another community outreach program that we offer citizens to attend to learn the internal workings of the police department,” CPD Lt. Joe Bickel said. “It allows them to become very knowledgeable about the different divisions.”

During the April 23 class, Sgt. Dave Kinyon and officer Brian Schmidt talked about the department’s K-9 unit, interdiction and vehicle stops.

Three of the four K-9s made a cameo during the class. K-9 Wazir did an in-class bite and K-9 Bailey, the narcotics-sniffing dog, sniffed around the room. All three played with their beloved tennis balls.

Class attendees asked insightful questions and had a genuine interest in law enforcement. Members of the Winter Citizen’s Academy attended a graduation ceremony April 30 at Ritz Charles and can now be a part of the CPD Citizens Academy Alumni Association.

During the class, I learned a few things I probably would’ve never discovered before, including that a K-9 requires twice the Narcan as a person, what makes a vehicle look suspicious and about EPIC (the El Paso Intelligence Center).

There are limited spots available for the fall Citizen’s Academy, which begins Sept. 6. Applications for the spring 2019 Citizen’s Academy (Feb. 11 – April 29, 2019) are being accepted. Applications can be found at