Students can learn what it takes to be a police officer, all in their free time.
The Muncie Citizen's Police Academy is once again taking students into the world of police training.The program is free of charge and offers a 12-week, scaled-down version of conventional Indiana law enforcement training. Classes meet on Tuesday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. They begin Feb. 19 and ends May 7.
Participants work with the SWAT and K-9 teams. They will also learn about firearms, MPD history, drug interdiction, criminal investigation, routine patrol functions, dispatch and emergency management coordination, such as handling hazardous materials.
"Next to actually joining, this is as close of a hands-on experience that you can receive," said Muncie Sgt. William Brown. "It is quite a lot like an internship. You really get to see the application of theory."
According to Brown, the academy's instructors are certified to instruct at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy.
Each semi-annual class allows a maximum of 25 students. Currently, eight applications have been received from BSU criminal justice majors.
"I am joining just to get an idea of the criteria for becoming a police officer, as well as how police personnel function with the public and what their view of the public is," said senior marketing major Jeremy Cracraft.
"A couple of years ago, a blind student said that the program helped her make the transition to the job market," Brown said.
The academy, founded by Brown in 1999, is based loosely on the Indianapolis Citizen's Police Academy. It has enjoyed support from the public, Muncie Police Department Chief Joe Winkle and Mayor Dan Canan, Brown said.
Graduates of the program receive a certificate of completion and have their pictures taken with Canan and Winkle. Graduates are also given a tour of the Delaware County Jail.
Those who complete the program may join the the Citizen's Police Academy Alumni Association. Alumni Association members receive ID badges, T-shirts and permission to go on a ride-along with a Muncie police officer once a month for as long as they are members. They have to pay a due but, according to Brown, they are approximately the price of the T-shirt they receive from the mayor.
Applications for the next class are due by Feb. 8. To apply, visit the BSU criminal justice office or call the Muncie Police Department Crime Prevention Division at 741-1350.
"This experience is beneficial for all majors. It is a definite plus to learn things like what goes through an officer's mind when doing a traffic stop. The program taught me more than I ever hoped for through extensive hands-on action," said junior criminal justice major Kim Wolfsiffer.