HEWITT, Texas: For over 25 years, the Hewitt Police Department has hosted their Citizen’s Police Academy to show community members what their local law enforcement faces on a typical day. This year may be the most important for the police to build a relationship with the community.
“We go to the gun range and they actually see traffic stops and we do force-on-force training and we put them into scenario-based trainings,” Hewitt Police Chief James Devlin said. “It’s the same stuff that we do.”
The program runs for 11 weeks, with classes meeting each Tuesday starting February 16 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
“It’s important because it gets the citizens involved in the police department,” Devlin said. “We have the opportunity to get individuals from our city and from the businesses to come in, they get to know the officers one-on-one and it’s the beginning of community policing.”
After nationwide protests over police involved shootings over the last year, including some this month in central Texas, this year’s program marks an important step towards building even more community trust in Hewitt.
“What we’re seeing today, a lot of the issues you see are not communicated,” Devlin said. “In this type of program, we have the ability to explain it, we have the ability to break it down step by step.”
With these police issues dominating the news cycle over the last year, this year’s program will have a new training course.
“This year, we’re gonna have a section on de-escalation, on de-escalating situations and sometimes how difficult that is in certain instances,” Devlin said.
There are still spots available for this year’s Citizen’s Police Academy, and you can learn more here.