CRYSTAL LAKE – From throwing on handcuffs to getting behind the wheel of a squad car, Crystal Lake residents can get a behind-the-scenes look at the work of a local police officer during the Citizen Police Academy.
The Citizen Police Academy is a 10-week program designed to give participants a better understanding of the Crystal Lake Police Department through a series of classes, discussions and demonstrations that show the operations of all the divisions.
The program is scheduled to run every Thursday from Sept. 11 to Nov. 13 at the Crystal Lake Police Department from 6 to 9 p.m.
Officer Kimberley Shipbaugh said participants will get hands-on lessons during the course and will have an opportunity to do a mock traffic stop, apply handcuffs and even see the proper way to use a police baton on a rubber dummy.
“This program is really just a brief snapshot of what we do, but it gives people a better understanding,” she said. “People say they had no idea about all the different work that happens at the department.”
The goal, Shipbaugh said, is to improve communication between the police and community and develop relationships that often lead to graduates of the program becoming volunteer officers. Volunteer officers help police at community events, provide traffic control and take on other responsibilities.
Past classes have been a hit with residents and criminal justice students at McHenry County College, she said. Those interested must be at least 18 years old, pass a criminal background check, and sign a waiver and hold harmless agreement. Preference is given to residents and people who work in Crystal Lake. The academy is free of charge.
Applications, which can be directly accessed at www.crystallake.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=8545, are due by Aug. 27.
For more information, contact Shipbaugh at 815-356-3683 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.