Have you ever watched TV shows like "Cops" or "CSI (insert any city)" and wondered what it would be like to be a cop, K-9 officer or detective? Did you know that you can get a taste of what it is like and a comprehensive behind the scenes look at our own Hendersonville Police Department?
I did not until recently. I just completed and graduated from the Hendersonville Citizen Police Academy; a four-week program that consisted of two nights a week and one shooting range day. I was honestly disappointed when it ended.
This was the CPA's 21st class and was led by Community Services Director Jamie Owens. The main goal of the class is "Gaining Knowledge Through Experience."
Classes ranged from learning about the history of the department, local judges discussing how the judicial process works, to hands-on training. If a detective was leading the class then we were trying to solve a crime scene or were touring the mobile crime lab.
On Drug Task Force night we were searching a vehicle inside and out looking for a million dollars' worth of real drugs. And during traffic stop night we were learning the DUI process, trying to walk with "beer goggles" and learning how to approach a car and why.
As much fun as we were having "playing cops" it became real when we learned which parts of the car could stop a bullet easier. One of my favorite classes was led by the K-9 officers. Talk about dedication and ongoing constant training! Yours truly was even able to experience being bitten by "Ozzy" ......with a padded sleeve of course.
As much fun as we all had, to be honest there were a few nights that you were hard pressed to find a dry eye. Whether we were watching video footage of officers being shot or discussing our own fallen heroes, for which there is an open to the public memorial service every year.
There were many more topics covered and hands-on experiences. All 17 of us that participated in this class finished with a greater understanding and appreciation for our police officers. Afterwards we all decided to become official members of the Citizen Police Academy Association.
You can see us "blue shirts" at fundraisers for the department, local festivals doing finger printing for children, etc. Our goal is to provide whatever support we can to our officers. If you would like to take a CPA class you can print an application online at www.hendersonville-pd.org or pick one up the police department. There will be another class in the next couple of months....I hope to see you there!