Citizens police academy to begin in August;
Applications now being accepted

Published 10:01 am Thursday, July 16, 2020

Danville Assistant Police Chief Glenn Doan said building community relationships and educating the public are key aspects of being a police officer.

One of the ways that the Danville Police Department is aiming to accomplish those goals is by holding a citizens police academy, beginning in August.

The academy will last 10 weeks, Doan said, with participants meeting once per week for approximately two hours each Tuesday evening from 6-8 p.m.

The course is wide-ranging, he said, and will include topics such as police training, overview of staff positions, traffic stop demonstrations, simulations, and more.

It’s all part of an effort to provide citizens with a comprehensive look at the Danville Police Department, Doan said.

“We really try to make sure that they come away with a complete understanding of what we do and why we do it,” he added.

Doan said the topics are of interest to participants and get more in-depth as the course progresses.

“We cover all the topics of interest,” he said. “We start off slow with things like touring the police department, giving an overview of staffing levels and even cover pay and benefits for officers. We cover training, and so we start with that and then work our way up to policies and procedures.”

Doan said the course is extremely interactive, which takes the experience for participants to another level.

“We get people really involved,” he said. “We let them participate in some of our trainings. We do mock traffic stops so they can see what it’s like to conduct a traffic stop with our officers playing actors.”

The course even includes situations where participants will be able to deploy a taser, but before that, the participants are given an in-depth look at use-of-force procedures within the department.

“They have a really good understanding of when and how we utilize our weapons systems,” he said.

Doan added that this also includes the use of simunitions, where participants are placed into a deadly force encounter. He said that a simunition involves the participants actually firing a non-lethal cartridge from a service weapon.

“It’s pretty intense,” he said. “We don’t shoot back at them but we do allow them to shoot at us.”

The department put a pause on the program a few years ago due to staffing issues, so five or six years went by where DPD did not offer the program. It was brought back last year though, and Doan said it is something the department wants to continue to do moving forward.

This year, however, things will be a little different with the COVID-19 pandemic. The department actually planned to offer an abbreviated course in the spring, but just as it was getting started, COVID-19 cases began to rise in Kentucky and the class was cancelled.

The department hopes that a similar situation doesn’t arise this time around, and in order to comply with CDC guidelines, Doan said they will offer masks for participants and will implement social distancing measures when possible for the course.

“We have to play everything by ear,” he said. “Hopefully when this starts in August, we won’t run into any COVID-related issues where we will have to make major adjustments. We’re going to use caution though and social distance the best we can during scenarios and in our seating and things like that… It is something we have to be mindful of but we don’t expect anything that will take away from the experience.”

Doan said ultimately the academy hopes to address misconceptions that people have about the police department and continue to build relationships within the community.

“There are just so many misconceptions out there, and going through this, you get a first-hand look of how policing works and why we do what we do,” Doan said. “It really clears up those misconceptions that people have with the police department and policing in general.”

He added that during the course, participants spend a lot of time with the officers and get to know them on a more personal level, and vice versa. This makes a huge difference, Doan said, especially because participants spend time with officers of varying backgrounds and experience levels.

“You can’t beat that,” he said. “When you’re able to be one-on-one with the officers that are policing your community and you get to speak to them and ask them questions, plus you’re talking with officers that have 20 years experience and officers that have a year of experience, you really get to know them on a personal level and understand why they elected this job and really how hard they’re working to make sure that they do the right thing.”

On the reverse side, Doan said it is beneficial for the officers to spend that extra time with people in the community, getting to know them better and hearing from them. It also helps officers understand what misconceptions about police exist within the community.

“It works both ways and is a great relationship builder between people in the community and officers,” Doan said. “It kind of shines a light on what people may misunderstand. We may have someone ask a question and say they’ve always heard something, and so we get to see things from their perspective too of what they may have missed or not understand and we can help bridge that gap.”

Doan said that right now, being able to build those relationships within the community is more important than ever.

“I think right now, it is more important than ever to be building those community relationships and this academy is one great way to do that,” he said. “We are all watching the news media and there are a lot of questions people have right now about response to resistance and what dictates force, and we go through all that in this course and show them how we train, what we train for, when we’re allowed to do certain things and when we’re not. We go over all that.”

Doan encouraged all who are interested to sign up for the course.

“We encourage everyone to apply, come out, ask questions,” Doan said. “I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in your experience if you show up.”

How to apply

If you would like to apply to attend the Danville Police Department Citizens Training Academy, applications can be emailed to Assistant Police Chief Glenn Doan at gdoan@danvilleky.gov, faxed to 859-936-1301, or brought to the police department.

Applications are available online through the city’s website at https://www.danvilleky.org/city-government/police-department or can be picked up at the Danville Police Department Monday-Friday during normal business hours. The course is free to all Boyle County residents.