Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Academy gives taste of police work

Delhi program has 100 grads

By Tom O'Neill
The Cincinnati Enquirer

DELHI TWP. - Teachers. Plumbers. Housewives. Bankers. And one nun from Mt. St. Joseph.

All are among the 100 or so graduates of the Delhi Citizens Police Academy, a 13-week course that begins its seventh season soon.

Classes are held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays, at the police department, 934 Neeb Road.

Prompted by residents' requests, the program began as a way to teach the basics of police work, to demystify the processes of vehicle-crash reconstruction, forensics and speed enforcement.

"Originally," Delhi police Detective Cpl. Joe Middendorf said Friday, "it was a way to appease the curiosity of the public. But it became much more than that."

The program has graduated more than 100 citizens.

"You need the community working with you," Detective Middendorf said.

Participants usually run about 60 percent women. Previous classes have included tours of the Hamilton County communications center, the county's adult and juvenile justice centers, and training at a local firing range.

Participants also go on police car ride-alongs, learn the history of law enforcement and how to lift fingerprints, and watch radar speed-monitoring on Rapid Run Road.

The program was initially open to anyone who lives or works in Delhi, but has expanded to include anyone with ties to the township.

Police conduct a basic criminal background check on applicants, but otherwise the program is open to anyone who lives or works in Delhi, or has ties to the township, such as former residents and people who have relatives living there.

This year's class is set to begin the last week of February or the first part of March, but no date has been set.

Typically, about 15 to 20 citizens enroll. It was designed to be strictly informational, but 45 have gone on to sign up for the Delhi Citizens Police Association, which helps with neighborhood watch groups and is trained to assist in such things as field searches.

For more information, call Delhi police at 922-0060, or visit the township's Web site at www.delhi.oh.us.

E-mail toneill@enquirer.com

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