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Police Academy opens Tuesday

The White Hall Police Department’s third Citizen’s Police Academy class begins Tuesday evening, with 2.5 hour sessions one night a week through mid-May, according to Richard Davies, a retired Pine Bluff police sergeant.

Classes will be held from 6:30-9 p.m. each Tuesday at White Hall City Hall, with a graduation dinner scheduled May 15, said Davies, a part-time White Hall officer.

Classes are normally limited to 25 participants, he said, but because of the high interest this session will include more than 30 enrolled.

Topics to be covered during academy classes include traffic law, drug awareness, search and seizure, making communities safer, crime scenes, fingerprinting, use of force, riding with a police officer on patrol, gang awareness, the legal system, and tours of the Metropolitan Emergency Communications Association center and the Jefferson County Juvenile Detention Center in Pine Bluff.

Department personnel and guest instructors provided participants with an overview of the police department’s “responsibilities, functions and procedures, while providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and concerns relating to our community,” said Police Chief Richard Wingard.

Davies said the classes are designed to expose myths about law enforcement for those who have exposed to television shows where the murder or other crimes are neatly solved within 30- to 60-minutes, “minus commercials.”

Academy participants are required to commit to one night a week over two months and a visit to a firing range to learn about firearm safety, with several White Hall officers serving as adjunct instructors. Davies said the department is planning to conduct a Citizen’s Police Academy II this fall for graduates of the first three sessions, adding the advanced course will be more involved and include subjects not covered earlier.