EPD University will feature monthly police classes in Elgin
The Elgin Police Department is launching a new "EPD University" program consisting of free, monthly classes on various police topics open to residents 18 and older.
EPD University will take place one evening the third week of the month starting Feb. 19, with future dates to be determined after feedback from the first attendees. The program is a new iteration of the police department's long-standing citizens police academy, which until last year took place during eight consecutive weeks in spring.
People can attend one or as many classes as they want. Those who attend six of the first eight classes in 2020 can attend a "graduation" in October that will include shooting in the police station's gun range and using the "shoot/don't shoot" video simulator.
Elgin's citizens police academy started in the mid-1990s. Last year's session had 30 graduates after five or so people dropped out because of their schedules, community outreach specialist Christy Schmidt said. Interest has remained high over the years but there was a desire to ensure classes are accessible to everyone, particularly those who can't make lengthy, regular commitments, she said.
Schmidt worked with Kristi Hilton, the department's public information officer, to come up with the new format.
"It was like, 'Why not open it up topic-wise so people who like a specific topic can come in and learn about that topic?'" Schmidt said. "You can either do the whole thing, or a la carte."
The first session will feature a welcome from Police Chief Ana Lalley and a tour of the police station. Future sessions will be on: response to resistance; traffic stop protocol; 911 communications and investigations; mock crime scenes; drugs and special investigations; animal control and DUI; and SWAT and police dog units.
"Getting to hear from the police officers and hearing their passion for what they do is just as cool as the content people learn," Schmidt said.
Resident Elizabeth Schultz, who attended the citizens police academy last year, said the new format might work better for people with busy schedules.
Schultz said she especially enjoyed the sessions featuring 911 communications personnel and resident officers who live in the neighborhoods they patrol. "I really liked it," she said. "I learned that there was a lot more that they do than just giving tickets for driving or solving crimes."
Those who have attended the citizens police academy are all ages and backgrounds, Schmidt said. "There are a lot of people who are law enforcement students or are interested in criminal justice careers. There are retirees, and also a lot of folks who are still working and have an interest in law enforcement."
Elgin police also offer a daytime citizens police academy for seniors; a Spanish-language citizens police academy; and a teen citizens police academy for younger residents.
For questions contact Schmidt at (847) 289-2588 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To register visit cityofelgin.org/epd-u. Priority is given to Elgin residents but others can attend as well.