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updated: 8/26/2013 4:20 PM

Lake Zurich police trying to restart Citizen Police Academy

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  • Patrick Finlon

    Patrick Finlon


Lake Zurich police are trying to revive a program designed to give residents a chance to gain insight about their daily work.

Provided enough applicants surface, the Lake Zurich Citizen Police Academy would be launched as a 10-week program Sept. 10. Detective Kurt Danielson, who also handles crime-prevention duties, said the classes would run from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Nov. 12, at Lake Zurich police headquarters.

Danielson said the village had participants in the first two fall academies in 2009 and 2010, but the program was dropped due to a lack of interest in 2011 and 2012. He said it's not known why the enthusiasm waned, but officials believed the academy was worth another attempt.

"It definitely gives you a better idea of operations of a police department," Danielson said Monday. "Everyone has got their concepts of what police work is."

Lake Zurich Police Chief Patrick Finlon said the classes would give residents a "more realistic overview" about what goes on for the entire department.

Gurnee, Elgin, Arlington Heights, Des Plaines and the DuPage County Sheriff's Office are among several suburban law-enforcement agencies with the civilian academies.

Some towns have alumni associations and public graduation ceremonies. The 17th and most recent Arlington Heights Citizen Police Academy graduated in late May in a ceremony attended by Mayor Thomas Hayes. It was followed by a drug detention and apprehension demonstration by canine officer Max.

Finlon said the Lake Zurich program for participants 21 and older would cover dispatching, detention, patrol operations, investigations, firearms training and other aspects of police work. Danielson said class members would receive a chance to ride with a patrol officer, observe dispatchers at work and tour the police facility.

To be cost-efficient, Danielson said, at least 12 enrollees would be needed for the Lake Zurich Citizen Police Academy to start. Enrollment would be capped at 20.

Given Lake Zurich police personnel limitations, Danielson said, it's hoped the academy would be offered annually in the fall. He said fans of police shows on television might be surprised at what they learn.

"We really don't resolve things in 45 minutes," he said.

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