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Citizen Police Academy

CHAMPAIGN-- 2013 has been a particularly violent year in Champaign so far, with the recent rash of gun violence leading to deaths and unsolved crimes. Local law enforcement officials continue to look for ways to limit crime activity in the community, and today announced the next installment of the Citizen's Police Academy.

Mike Schlosser, director of the Police Training Institute at the U of I, says, "We've been able to get citizens and police officers, and others working in the criminal justice field, get them together to interact and actually have a dialogue. It's kind of designed for them to learn more about police work."

The academy will take place in April and is run by the U of I Police Training Institute, in conjunction with several local law enforcement agencies in Champaign County. Throughout the 10 session people will be able to learn about several areas of police work, including: crime scene investigation, terrorism, drug enforcement, and explosives.

Says Walsh, "It's their tax dollar at work. When something goes bad and they call 911, they now have a better understanding of what we do and maybe more importantly, why we do it."

Schlosser added, "It's also an opportunity for us, the police, to learn from the community. To learn especially issues that are specific to Champaign County so that we can make Champaign County safer."

Sheriff Walsh says the program is ideal even for people who may be skeptical of their local police departments. "There have been some people who are very critical of the police in the past, and at the conclusion of the class they say 'well I still have my doubts, but I gotta tell you I learned a lot and now I understand why you guys do some of the things you do."