Titusville police bring back academy to foster community relations

By Caitlin Wilson, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 21, 2017, 7:13 PM EST

Our local law enforcement keeps our streets and homes safe every day, but there are plenty of aspects of the job everyday people just can’t see.

  • Titusville police bring back citizens academy
  • Officers trying to give citizens up-close look at officer lives
  • Program currently accepting applicants

Titusville Police are trying change that with a new program that gives regular citizens an up close look at the day-to-day lives of their officers.

"Oftentimes people really don't understand what we do," said Sergeant John Cruz. "One of the best ways is to come in, ask questions, participate in the ride along program, so you can see what we go though, the types of questions we ask our victims and suspects, and the scenes we process.”

That's one reason they're bringing back their citizens police academy, which hasn't been running in over a decade. It's a program that allows citizens to take a six-week course with officers and ride along to experience their jobs first hand.

Sergeant Cruz has worked the streets of Titusville for 14 years. He said so many elements factor into their daily jobs, which much of the public doesn't realize.

On Tuesday, News 13 a rode along with Cruz and got a behind-the-scenes look at the day of an officer. While we didn’t run into any serious crime, weather and lots of rain was just one of the things our officers deal with on a regular basis.

Through the academy, citizens will also learn about updated technology like, police body-cameras, DNA testing at crime scenes, and even ride along to crime scenes with officers.

"Let’s face it – some of the things we've taught 10 years ago in our citizen's academy have changed drastically; law enforcement and technology is more advanced,” said Chief John Lau.

The department hopes this will bring in new faces from the community and foster a trusting relationship with their citizens.

"A big part of our job is building a relationship between the police department and our community so that they not only see us when a crime occurs, but out there being a part of community outreach,” Sergeant Cruz said.

The program is currently accepting applicants. There are 20 spots available and orientation will start on Nov. 30.

If you’re interested in signing up or learning more about this citizens academy, head to Titusville Police Department's website.