Here’s Ron’s story on the Academy:
The Worcester Police Department has expanded its Clergy Academy to accommodate citizens as well as members of the clergy. It is an 8-week course designed to familiarize the participants with the various tasks associated with police work here in the City of Worcester and to perhaps help ease tensions between the police and the community at large.
It is open to citizens who are interested and pass the required records check to determine suitability for the program.
The first of the three hour weekly sessions deals with Administrative Details, Chief’s Greeting, Department Organization, Participant Introductions, Bureau of Professional Standards, the second deals with Constitutional Law, Criminal Law. The third deals with WPD Court Liaison Office, Use of Force. The fourth deals with District Attorney’s Office, Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault. The fifth deals with Youth Violence: Gang Unit, and Vice Squad. The sixth deals with Community Impact & School Liaison. The seventh deals with Stress Unit, Cultural Training, & Cell Room /Booking Procedures. The eighth and final class is when they hold the Graduation Ceremony for those who have successfully completed the course and issue a Certificate of Completion.
Somewhere during the intervening weeks participants are allowed to schedule a Ride-Along with an officer on duty on the shift of their choosing to get a sense of what an officer faces on a daily, or nightly basis.
As I am well aware of the level of activity that transpires overnights here in and on the City of Worcester streets, I chose to do the Ride-Along during the 11-7 shift, and was surprised to see that many of the other participants also chose that time slot.
The subject matter of discussion as I write this was on Constitutional and Criminal Law, and the class was taught by Lieutenant John Towns, who informed the class that actual Police Academy participants spend 186 hours of study on these subjects which he had only three hours to teach the participants of the Clergy/Civilian Academy on. I found the course informative and interesting, as was the discussions generated by the course materials between the Lt.. and the participants in the Academy.
I believe that this is a good program that will help to raise awareness of policy and procedures of the police here in Worcester and that it can only help the participants understand our department better as well as hopefully bring about more participation from the public in assisting the police in maintaining order in our community.
As many of you readers know, I have been an outspoken advocate of Law Enforcement, while at the same time not afraid to call attention to individual officers deserving of recognition, be it for doing good deeds or bad, I call it like I see it.
In the final analysis, we the people must support our local Law Enforcement, and not be afraid to bring attention to those deserving of reprimand for actions detrimental to the public interests.
The Bureau of Professional Standards of the Worcester Police Department is there for all to have an opportunity to address grievances they may have with any individual officer and is required to investigate any allegation of misconduct on the part of any of its officers.
They can even be reached online through the WorcesterMa.Gov website, and you can access that in seven different languages by scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking on the flag icon of the language you are most familiar with.
– Ron O’Clair