Copperas Cove Police Department began registration for its 30th Citizens Police Academy earlier this week. The academy is a 10-week behind the scenes look at public safety.
Lt. Brian Wyers takes comfort in knowing the program has stayed popular enough to continue for 30 courses, enrolling several hundred people throughout Copperas Cove since it started.
“The more people we can get through the academy, the more people know what is goes on at the police department,” Wyers said. “And that is the goal of the program — to familiarize the citizens with the way we do business here in Copperas Cove.”
The academy meets from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. every Thursday starting Sept. 5. People who sign up for the course receive classroom lectures and hands-on demonstrations of police work.
Officers from various departments explain the different aspects of being a police officer, Wyers said. Topics include traffic stops, collision investigations, narcotics, homicide and police weapons.
“My first favorite (part) was the gun range and getting to fire their weapons,” said Christian Mulvey, a member of the 22nd class.
“But I think what I learned about the most was traffic stops — what they do for traffic stops and why they do it. Not just why they pulled you over, but their actions during the traffic stop.”
While the gun range day is a favorite, Wyers said most people who enroll in the program are just like Mulvey. They learn a lot more about the department and the job than they expected.
“We have people come in constantly, and they have no clue what goes on in the police department,” Wyers said. “They will see the patrol officer, but they don’t know what goes on behind the scenes.”
Curiosity drove Mulvey and his wife to participate in the police academy, he said.
“We had been residents of the city for 14 years at that time, and we always saw the police officers but didn’t know what they did,” Mulvey said. “It really helped to gain better knowledge of the usage of our tax dollars and the usage of the police department in Copperas Cove.”
The academy is open all law-abiding residents of Copperas Cove and anyone who works within the city limits. Graduates of the course also qualify to be in the Copperas Cove Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association, which supports the police department.
“Really, it is great for people at all levels,” Wyers said. “Anyone that has an interest of what their police department is doing for them, they are going to get something out of this.”