Citizen's Police Academy promotes stronger relationships - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Citizen's Police Academy promotes stronger relationships

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Every day people make up the 20th Citizen's Police Academy in Johnson County. The 14 week program is made up of the Iowa City, North Liberty, and Coralville Police Departments, Johnson County Sheriff's Department and the University of Iowa's Department of Public Safety.

Each week "students" learn about a new topic relatable to a police officer's job ranging from K-9 unites and bomb squad.

Jane Burnham is just one of the 40 students in this years academy, moving to Iowa City three months ago from Chicago.

"I thought it would be a good way to learn about the community and how safe we are living here," she said.

Monday's night class was all about hand gun familiarity, target practice, and shoot don't shoot scenarios.

"This is nerve wracking to have people around so I don't know how officers get it to be a part of their life," she said.

A simulator was set up with lifelike scenarios such as a gunman in a school, bank robberies, or responding to a domestic abuse call which they were expected to use their judgment on pulling the trigger. A similar training scenario that cops themselves go through.

"It's easy to jump to conclusions and then have a very poor view of the police department to even suggest maybe the police aren't doing their job but in actuality they're doing whatever they can in the realm of the law," Alton Poole, with the UI Department of Public Safety, said.

Students were taught also where and how to aim when it came to the simulators.

"In the past you get the question well just like the movie why didn't you just shoot the gun out of their hand but when they actually go through the training they go oh my god it's not as easy as what they portray on television," Poole said.

Burnham said that so far she's enjoyed the class and encourages others to do so.

"You got to respect police officers. I did anyways but this even helps see more what job they have to do," Burnham said.

The class will go to Coralville for their next meeting where they'll learn about the use of force.

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