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White Hall Police Academy announced

The White Hall Police Department will conduct a Citizen’s Police Academy, Part 1, beginning Tuesday, Sept. 9, at City Hall. Participants will meet on Tuesday evenings at 6 p.m.for eight Tuesdays.

Residents of the White Hall School District who have not attended the classes and are interested in attending are asked to call the department at 870-247-1415, leaving a name and contact number. Richard Davies, a retired Pine Bluff police sergeant who will teach the class, said he will contact interested parties for additional information.

“This class will fill up fast, so call now and reserve your spots,” Davies said.

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, the latter two in Pine Bluff, Davies said.

Classes are free and there are no tests, Davies said.

Department personnel and guest instructors will provide 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 been exposed to television shows like “CSI” where the murder or other crimes are neatly solved within 30- to 60-minutes, minus commercials.

“I’m big on intervention and prevention,” Davies said. “I want people to be aware of your environment.”

Academy participants must commit to one night a week for two months and a visit to a firing range to learn about firearm safety, with several White Hall officers serving as adjunct instructors.

Participants will ride along with a police officer on a routine patrol shift, learn how to dust for latent fingerprints, have an opportunity to become familiar with “drugs on the street and how they can spot people who may be abusing drugs,” Davies said.

The Criminal Justice Institute, an affiliate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, calls Davies to present programs on gangs, weapons and drugs, in addition to writing guidelines for school resource officers.