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Citizen Police Academy is an adventure into law enforcement

CPD LogoI am attending Clarksville’s Citizen Police Academy, and will be writing a series of articles detailing my experiences for the readers of Clarksville Online.  We have already covered recruitment, procurement, police training, Constitutional rights and arrest procedures, and professional integrity/civil liability.

Some of the upcoming activities that I am looking forward to include trips to the firing range and the Montgomery County Jail, driving a police cruiser, getting shot with a Taser, and pepper sprayed. We will also be getting firsthand exposure to the K-9 squad, bomb disposal unit, and S.W.A.T. teams.

I am a participant in the 33rd class of the Citizen Police Academy. The goal of the Citizen Police Academy is to foster a better understanding between citizens and police officers through education. This is a free course provided by the Clarksville Police Department. Upon completion of the 13 week course attendees will be presented with a certificate, and become a Citizen Police Academy alumni.

Recruitment, procurement, and training

During the first week of the Citizen Police Academy, officers from the Clarksville Police Department showed us how our police officers are chosen, the specific training requirements for our officers, which is set by the State of Tennessee and the City of Clarksville.

Some of the basic requirements include:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Have a High School Diploma or G.E.D.
  • Criminal Activity – The Peace Officer Standard and Training Commission of Tennessee may consider a waiver from pre-employment requirements relating to criminal activity on an individual basis and depending on the circumstances excluding felony charge or domestic violence.
  • Possess a valid drivers license
  • Be a Citizen of the United States
  • Honorable Discharge from the Armed Forces if prior military
  • Completely fill out an application for employment
  • Be able to pass an extensive background investigation, polygraph, and drug screen
  • Meet State law Requirements concerning mental health and physical condition

As can be seen, the standards for new officers are very stringent.

Then the officer candidate must undergo a ten week police academy, followed by 14 weeks working with a more experienced officer.

Constitutional rights, making arrest, and professional integrity

During the second week of the Citizen Police Academy, we discussed the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and civil rights. We also discussed criminal acts, arrest procedures, the Miranda warning, what constitutes probable cause, and the major differences between criminal and civil law.

We also covered the role of the Professional Integrity Unit, more commonly known as Internal Affairs. Their primary job is to protect the citizens of Clarksville, Tennessee from police misconduct, and to protect police officers from false accusations made by citizens.

If an officer violates their professional integrity, they may face sanctions including:

  • Verbal Reprimand
  • Written Reprimand
  • Reduction in pay
  • Suspension
  • Demotion
  • Termination

In our city, police officers are held to a higher standard!

For the next 11 weeks, you can read more about the Clarksville Citizen Police Academy right here at Clarksville Online.

Sandy Shirley
Sandy Shirley
I am 40 years old and a senior at Austin Peay State University. I am majoring in English and also have a minor in  Writing. My interests include reading, writing, playing games, watching movies, and anything to do with FROGS!!
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