By CRISTIN REECE
PALESTINE — To paraphrase San Francisco PD Detective “Dirty” Harry Callahan, “I know what you're thinking, punk. You're thinking “I've already got so much going on, can I fit 12 weeks of citizens police academy in?” Now to tell you the truth I forgot myself in all this excitement. But being as this is the second class scheduled for the year, and it's a program that's pretty successful around the country and will help you keep your own neighborhood safe, you've gotta ask yourself a question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?”
While the Palestine Police Department's Citizens On Patrol police academy doesn't test its alum on their Clint Eastwood impersonations, it can help concerned citizens learn how to be the eyes and ears in their own communities and help local law enforcement take a bite out of crime.
According to the National Association Citizens on Patrol website, www.nacop.org, law enforcement agencies across the country have utilized COP groups for more than 20 years.
“As the name implies, Citizens On Patrol are citizens who, after being screened, background checked, and trained by their local law enforcement agency, patrol their communities acting as ‘eyes and ears’ for law enforcement,” the site states.
The inaugural class graduated 30 members in June and covered topics like crime scene investigation; the proper way to respond to potentially violent situations; and crime prevention tactics.
“Our first class was a huge success,” class instructor and Palestine Police Officer Patsy Smith said. “And this time, we're going to incorporate more hands-on lessons, so we should have even more fun.”
Applications for the department's second COP academy can be found at the police department and at Palestine City Hall, 504 N. Queen St.; the Palestine Visitors Center ; and the Palestine Public Library. The 12-week course is free and begins Tuesday, Oct. 29, at the Palestine Mall's Police Training Center, and should run from 6 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday night for 12 weeks.
Contact Smith or Brenda Galindo, 903-729-2254 or 903-731-8436, with questions.
The deadline to get applications in is 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28.