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Tomball Citizens Police Academy open for enrollment

March 1, 2019 GMT

Sergeant Christopher Burns describes in a Facebook video how in the dark early morning hours of Feb. 5, Tomball police arrested the driver of a stolen pick-up truck who instigated a car chase after running a red light. It wasn’t even the department’s first run-in with a stolen vehicle that month.

Community awareness initiatives like the Tomball Roll Call videos on the Tomball Police Department Facebook page provide the public with insight into the perhaps little-known daily challenges faced by Tomball officers.

Now, the Tomball Police Department is gearing up for a community awareness initiative that is 16 years strong — the annual Tomball Citizens Police Academy, which starts this year on April 2.

The Tomball CPA not only teaches participants about the responsibilities of Tomball officers; it allows citizens to go through the motions of responding to situations officers confront in the field.

“It goes back to community-based policing,” said Lieutenant Brandon Patin, Tomball PD public information officer. “We want our community to see the stuff that we do. During the eight-week course, they come in and do different scenarios. There’s a DWI session, an accident investigation session, mock traffic stops, even a ride-along where they ride with officers. We want them to see what it’s like to live in the day of an officer.”

Applications to participate in the 2019 Tomball CPA are due by March 15 at 4 p.m. Class size is limited to 18 people.

Participants must be at least 18 years old and have an interactive connection with Tomball, which can include being a resident, worker, shopper or student.

The academy class is free and meets Tuesdays 6 to 9 p.m. from April 2 to May 21.

“We have a graduation ceremony for them (May 28) that includes a luncheon for their families to attend, along with all the instructors because there are different officers and instructors that teach them throughout this course,” Patin said.

Citizens in the academy will learn about a variety of law enforcement-related topics, like patrolling, dispatch, investigations, DWIs, and search and seizure.

“The biggest thing we want is for them to ask questions and to show them things they didn’t know about everyday situations,” Patin said. “There’s a lot of stuff that everyone’s always said has been very informative. We’ve had numerous people over the years — some have been city employees, some have been community members — and they talk about this to people throughout the community, saying how this is a great thing and you need to attend this. Everybody enjoys it.”

Patin said that a resource like the Tomball CPA benefits the community by encouraging citizens and police officers to interact and fostering a mutual exchange information.

“They learn about us, we learn about them and we also take feedback from that to see what we can better do to help the community because they have suggestions too,” Patin said. “So, we listen to the community and help out. Their word is very important for us in how we do things to help and assist them.”

For more information about the Tomball CPA and how to apply, visit https://tomballtx.gov/289/Citizens-Police-Academy.

mfeuk@hcnonline.com