WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Waterbury police are giving residents a closer look at how officers do their job at its Citizens’ Police Academy.
The goal is for residents to leave this program with a new understanding of the police and the duties they perform daily. It’s part of a class the department holds annually for a decade.
“There are a lot of misconceptions, things that people see on movies and tv, and it’s not how things really work so we really enjoy the opportunity to share and educate,” said Lt. Ryan Bessette with the Waterbury Police Department.
Twenty people are taking part in this fall’s Citizens’ Police Academy. Over the next six weeks, participants will walk in a police officer’s shoes by learning about the use of force, forensics, and the realities of police work.
“They’re a little surprised on investigations, how long things take, and the work that goes into them,” Bassette said. “On tv, you’re used to things happening quickly.”
Monday’s class was about the recruitment and training process to become a police officer.
Kyle Liang signed up for the academy because he wants to join the force.
“Most of the cops in here, I actually know personally,” he said. “They really pushed me and motivated me.”
Residents also get the chance to ask questions directly to the chief, tour the police department and see the crime lab.
Most of the class participants are lifelong Waterbury residents who said they want to be a part of the solution to reduce crime and gun violence in the city.
“This is an opportunity for us to build trust and transparency with our community,” Bessette said.
This year’s police academy will end at the Police Activity League on Division Street, where officers mentor at-risk youth.