Hands-On Learning for Crime Prevention

Duke Police offers Citizens' Police Academy for students, employees

Crime prevention manager David Williams chats with a Duke employee during a
Crime prevention manager David Williams chats with a Duke employee during a "Tips n' Treats" event on East Campus. Duke Police will soon begin a new community outreach program, the Citizens' Police Academy. Photo by Bryan Roth.

Crime-scene analysis, criminal investigation and firearm safety may be favorite aspects of popular crime shows on television, but beginning Jan. 14, the opportunity to learn more about these aspects of crime prevention come to Duke.

The Duke University Police Department is now taking applications for its first "Citizens' Police Academy," a five-course program geared to offer students, faculty and staff the chance to gain greater insight into the operations of Duke Police. During the program, participants will meet in the evening every other week to learn about a variety of police duties that also include traffic stops, patrolling campus on Segways, how to react to emergency incidents and more.

The first session of classes is limited to 15 Duke community members, who must have a valid driver's license, be in good health and at least 18 years old. Instructors will provide training similar to what is offered at an academy for police recruits. Interested individuals must submit an application to participate by Jan. 7. The program meets from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., except for its final class on March 14, which is 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  

"Hosting our first-ever academy is an easy way to strengthen our partnership with the Duke community," said John Dailey, chief of Duke Police. "By offering a way to better understand what Duke Police does, we hope to foster stronger relationships with students and employees."

Duke Police crime prevention officer Eric Hester and crime prevention manager David Williams will lead the academy, which will include guest speakers from Duke Police and other local law enforcement groups.

Hester said classes will be interactive and hands-on. For example, participants will learn about use of Segways, then have a chance to ride one. Classes will also help "investigate" a mock crime scene, with police walking participants through the steps of investigation, from the initial 9-1-1 call to finding clues.

"These are all fun activities, but they also have the goal of providing people greater awareness for their safety, what we do as a police force and how they can best help us create a culture of safety on campus," Hester said.

Classes will be taught at Duke Police offices at 402 Oregon St., although some classes will require travel to local sites. In those cases, Duke Police will provide transportation.

For more information about the Citizens' Police Academy, contact Eric Hester at (919) 681-5609 or email eric.hester@duke.edu.