Chief Barber with the IPD's K-9 unit

Ithaca, N.Y. — The Ithaca Police Department announced Tuesday that it will be hosting a “Citizens’ Police Academy” from Feb. 25 through April 15 to teach community members about the police department’s operations.

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The police academy came out of discussions for improving relations between the Ithaca community and its police force. (Those discussions were accelerated by a controversial Aug. 10 incident in which unarmed teens had a weapon pulled on them by police, sparking some local protests.)

Officer Jamie Williamson identified 3 principal goals from the free 8-week citizens’ academy program, which had strong support from Mayor Svante Myrick and Chief John Barber:

1 — “To create a better understanding of the daily activities of police officers who serve in the Ithaca community;”

2 — “To strengthen the relationships with the community and the officers;”

3 — “To enhance the police services that are provided to the Ithaca community.”

“These goals will ultimately help police officers to create a safer community in which to live, work, and grow,” Williamson said.

Chief Barber with the IPD's K-9 unit
Chief Barber with the IPD’s K-9 unit

Topics for the course will include:

— SWAT and Critical Incident Negotiations Team operations;

— The K-9 Team;

— Crime scene investigations and evidence processing;

— Interactive reality-based scenarios;

— Bicycle patrols, traffic enforcement and traffic stops;

— Officer safety and defensive tactics;

— Police and patrol operations; and narcotics identification.

“The course is a combination of lecture and interactive activities which will give a firsthand look at the department’s functions, resources, and programs,” the statement said.

“Acceptance into the program is subject to a check of the applicant’s background and references.”

Applications are due by 3 p.m. Friday, February 6, 2015, according to the statement.

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Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.