Residents begin Police Citizen Academy - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Residents begin Police Citizen Academy

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Albany- Dr. Janice Coats-Hardy is a professor and counselor by day. "I can certainly make a difference. I can serve as an asset in my community."

But tonight she's taking steps to advance her knowledge beyond her day to day activities as a leader. "I think it's going to be a lot of fun and I consider myself as an intermittable learner and that means I'm always open to learn about things I don't know already," says Hardy.

She's on her way to her first day of class as a student of the Albany Police Department's Citizen Program. Lt. Tracey Barnes is one of many who will teach citizens about the day to day life of an officer, learning what a beat cop does, training with firearms and riding along with officers or detectives.

"A program like this, really we want to improve the communication between the Albany Police Department and basically the whole criminal justice system and the citizens, also making citizens more aware," says Barnes. But in the past, not many people signed up.

"Over recent years, we've had a decline in participation from the residents and I think with the amount of exposure and publicity that we've got with both the media and other folks getting out their early and actually talking about it that we have definitely increased," says Barnes.

Because Albany citizens want to take information learned here back to their neighborhoods, families, and even their jobs. Dr. Hardy says, "I will certainly use this particular tool as an educational avenue in helping others to help themselves in preventing crimes in the neighborhoods."

An ultimate goal that citizens share with the officers and they're ready and willing to learn.

"To determine the extent to which they are helping us to shape mold and nurture our young people to become productive citizens," says Hardy.

posted by len.kiese@walb.com