Columbus, OH

Community Police Academy spring session to resume Wednesday

The Lantern
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The Community Police Academy is designed to give community members a view of how officers serve on campus. Credit: Sarah Szilagy | Patricia B. Miller Special Projects Reporter

The Community Police Academy, a four-week program led by University Police and designed to give community members a view of how officers work on campus, will resume its in-person spring session Wednesday.

The free program , which took a two year hiatus due to the pandemic, is available to any Ohio State community member aged 18 and older. It will run Wednesdays from 5-8 p.m. through April 20 with new teachers and updated lessons.

Cassi Shaffer, detective and community engagement officer for University Police, said the program aims to promote community engagement and feedback.

“This is a way we can talk together in a place where everybody’s on the same level and we’re all just trying to learn from each other,” Shaffer said.

The program uses a variety of teaching techniques to show members different scenarios and operations of University Police officers, according to the Department of Public Safety website . There are four classes during the spring session, with the first three each focusing on a different aspect of law enforcement and the last week combining the information learned for a final lesson.

University spokesperson Dan Hedman said in an email the content of the spring session is divided by class, with scenarios and lectures describing activities such as traffic stops, civilian casualty care and building searches.

There are 28 spots available for the program, held at Blankenship Hall, and community members can register on the Department of Public Safety website .

Shaffer said the pandemic impacted University Police’s outreach and communication and their ability to put on events like the Community Police Academy. Despite these issues, she said the police have learned how to enhance engagement as events like this return.

“I think having to adapt like that gave us a stronger bond with our community because we were forced out of our comfort zones a little bit and all of us had to find a way to communicate,” Shaffer said.

Clarification: This story previously stated The Community Police Academy had not operated in two years due to the pandemic, due to incorrect information presented by a source. It has been updated to reflect that a session was held in August 2021, in compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols.

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