Citizens Academy helps public learn more about police work

Citizens Academy helps public learn more about police work
James Linton (Source: WAVE 3 News)
James Linton (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Carol Young (Source: Sharon Yoo, WAVE 3 News)
Carol Young (Source: Sharon Yoo, WAVE 3 News)
Jason Garvin (Source: Sharon Yoo, WAVE 3 News)
Jason Garvin (Source: Sharon Yoo, WAVE 3 News)
Officer Johnny Burgraff (Source: Sharon Yoo, WAVE 3 News)
Officer Johnny Burgraff (Source: Sharon Yoo, WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - With record-breaking homicide rates this year, Louisville is constantly struggling with violence and finding the people responsible. Louisville Metro police say the biggest challenge is getting people in the neighborhood to help them. However, there may be a way to find common ground and Take Back Your Streets.
At each homicide scene, police always ask for the same thing.

"Anyone with information that we can get that will bring closure to this will be incumbent upon a person who knows that type of information and bring it forward," said Dwight Mitchell, an LMPD spokesman, while briefing reporters at a recent homicide scene.

Mitchell and his fellow LMPD spokespersons can be seen saying something similar to this at each homicide scene.
The investigations hinge on trust, but that trust seems to slip each day in the city.
"All the things that people have done in the past isn't working very well," James Linton from Community Connections mourned in a meeting on Tuesday night.
However, there is one group that is trying to approach things differently. They are a group of people taking an 11 week LMPD Citizen's Academy Class. Topics ranging from border patrol to use of deadly force are included in the syllabus. It's just like a summary of an officer's training.

"We don't want to sway anyone to like or dislike what we do or how we do it, instead we strive to give them knowledge they need to make informed decisions," said Officer Johnny Burgraff, the man charge of various citizens academy classes LMPD has to offer.

The classes draw a variety of people. It brought in an author, Carol Young, who is taking the course not only to do research for her upcoming murder mystery novel but also because she says it's her responsibility.

"Everyone has got issues, the things that they need to deal with," Young said, "but as the public the best thing we can do is stand with them, stand behind them."

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Jason Garvin also joined for similar reasons.
"In a time that we're living through right now, where it seems like the police are under scrutiny a lot, I wanted to learn more," Garvin said. "To get a better grasp and a better knowledge."
After spending every Tuesday night going through some eye-opening experiences, each student is taking away a different message.
"It gave you the scenarios, 'What would you do?'" said Garvin, referring to the virtual training machine.

The machine is a digitally triggered situation-based shooter training system. It mimics different scenes an officer may be faced with on a daily basis, including the possibility of using deadly force. During the meeting before graduation from the academy, the class was brought to the Firearms Training Facility to experience this.

"We've all seen the things on the news and we see 'okay this happened.' But to witness it yourself ... it happens so fast."
Young say she's also surprised at how much of a brotherhood the police force is.

"The camaraderie," said Young. "I understand seeing all of that hearing the guest speakers and seeing them and how they interact, how amazing that actually is."
The goal is to expose the public to different aspects of policing so they can use that information and, police hope, take a stand and take back your streets.
"We want you to be informed about the things that we do," Burgraff added.
The LMPD Citizens Academy is free to anyone interested. All you have to do is pass a background check. The class meets every Tuesday evening for 11 weeks and the next round of classes is scheduled to begin in February. If you are interested in signing up, you can contact Officer Johnny Burgraff via email by clicking on the highlighted link or calling him 502-574-8868.
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