Gurnee Citizen Police Academy
The Gurnee Citizen Police Academy is a 36-hour block of instruction designed to give the public a working knowledge of the practices, policies, and procedures governing the police department. The instruction consists of twelve 3-hour blocks conducted on a weekly basis. Participants must be at least 18 years of age and of good moral character with no felony convictions.
Classes are held each Thursday evening from 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm. Anyone interested in attending the 12 week FREE course can obtain an application by contacting Deputy Chief Saundra Campbell at (847) 599-7050 or via email.
Class #27 started on March 3rd, 2016. For the following 13 weeks students in the class shared the duty of writing an article about each class and their experiences. Their writings are below:
This week (May 5th, 2016) the Citizens Police Academy class learned all about the myriad of duties performed by community service officers (CSO’s)… and then the class went to the dogs.
Kathy Reichers-Ronzani provided an entertaining presentation. These unarmed civilian (non-sworn) officers deal with both domestic and wild animals, enforce leash laws, make sure you pick up after your dogs, and generally remind pet owners of their responsibilities as required by village ordinance. They provide enormous support for the law enforcement mission in the village.
CSO’s will set different kinds of traps to deal with wild creatures. Bear in mind we are talking chipmunks, rabbits, and the occasional opossum. Skunks? Not so much.
If you have a fender bender on private property the CSO will likely take care of your accident report. They do not issue traffic citations or respond to “in-progress” emergency calls.
Locked out of your car accidentally? It's a good bet they will be able to rectify that for you. Annually they get a whopping 2,000 drivers back into their vehicles.
CSO’s provide traffic control for traffic crashes and special events. They’re primarily responsible for the enforcement of village parking ordinances such as fire lanes and improper use of handicapped-designated spaces.
Around police headquarters they handle the mail, raise and lower flags, and assist in dealing with prisoners. They can also show you the proper way to install a child safety seat. To say they are highly-valued members of the department would be a gross understatement.
The second half of the class was devoted a demonstration by the Gurnee K-9 officers (hence the ‘went to the dogs’ comment above).
Officers Phil Mazur and Daniel Ruth and their dogs Hunter and Bear provided an interesting insight into this component of the department. Both are German Shepherds with blood lines going back to Germany. Each are approximately 3 years old.
The handlers and their dogs go through ongoing intensive training covering obedience, dealing with physical obstacles, handler protection, tracking possible suspects, cadavers, and searching out narcotics. The dogs are extremely effective for crowd control and the apprehension of suspects when needed.
The handlers gave us an actual demonstration and we saw for ourselves how effective the dogs are at sniffing out narcotics and subduing suspects. They are both amazing animals and an enormous asset to law enforcement in Gurnee and throughout our region.
Week #11 (05/12/16) will focus on the school resource officer and teen court programs, along with a block on gang enforcement.
Gordon Hannan-Vice President Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association