Tuesday, November 14, 2000

Police work: Not like on TV

Course gives citizens new insight

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FAIRFIELD — Twenty citizens have learned more about police work in 10 Tuesdays than they could have gleaned from years of so-called “reality TV” shows, says Fairfield Police Lt. Ken Colburn.

        “The crime takes place, it gets solved and goes to court, all within a half-hour TV show. But it doesn't really work that way in real life; it's much more complex,” Lt. Colburn said. “The citizens who have gone through the academy have a greater understanding of what we do. They know it's not that quick and easy.”

        The city's seventh Citizen Police Academy class, which began in September, graduates tonightin a ceremony at the No. 2 fire station on Dixie Highway. Police Chief Mike Dickey and City Manager Art Pizzano will congratulate the participants.

        Fairfield is one of a number of Greater Cincinnati communities that offer citizens police academies to foster better police-community relations.

        “We're making a lot of friends out in the community,” Lt. Colburn said. “People who have been through the academies often continue to keep in contact with us.”

        Two members of the current academy have already volunteered to assist with programs that help troubled juveniles.

        The twice-yearly Fairfield program, which is free of charge, has become increasingly popular since its inception in September 1997, Lt. Colburn said. Thirteen peo ple have already signed up for the next academy class that begins in March.

        On Saturday, 15 class members went to Target World in Sharonville to learn to fire a weapon. Target World opened its firing range two hours early for exclusive use of the class, Lt. Colburn said.

        “Many of the people had never fired guns before of any type,” he said. “One (woman) was shaking the whole time, although she shot really well.”

        The class learned firearms basics during its regular meeting last Tuesday. On Saturday, instructors showed the students how to properly grip a gun — .40-caliber Sig Sauers just like Fairfield officers carry.

        “I'm sure they learned how difficult it is to shoot consistently — and how unrealistic it is for someone to shoot a gun out of a guy's hand, like you see in the movies,” Lt. Colburn said.

        The academy class also featured a death investigation presentation by Butler County Coroner Dr. Richard Burkhardt; police canine presentation by Police Officer Rob Corner; and crime prevention tips and criminal investigations information given by Sgt. Greg Valandingham.

        For more information, contact Lt. Colburn at 867-6030, ext. 123.


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