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Sign up for Citizens Police Academy at NIU

January 16, 2019

NIU has a unique opportunity for people who want to learn more about law enforcement.

Faculty, staff and students are invited to enroll in the NIU Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy, an 11-week experiential learning opportunity that begins Wednesday, Jan. 30.

“The goal of the academy is to provide citizens with a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to be a police officer and the integral role officers play in keeping the campus and community safe,” NIU Police Chief Tom Phillips said. “We want to be transparent with our operations and allow our community to fully understand what we are doing and why we are doing it.”

First launched in 2016, the idea for the academy stemmed from the department’s commitment to improving community relations and keeping the lines of communication open.

“The academy helps bridge the gap between officers and our campus community,” Phillips said. “Our goal is to make personal connections, and this is one way we are doing just that.”

Taught by members of the NIU Police Department, the course allows attendees to “learn by doing” and includes practical exercises with patrol officers, detectives and members of the supervisory staff.

“The academy offers an excellent balance between content and hands-on meaningful experiences,” Michelle Bringas, director of NIU’s Asian American Resource Center and 2018 Citizens Police Academy graduate. “The experience was an eye-opener to the many intricate nuances to police work.”

Don’t expect a lecture series as each week involves a hands-on practical experience to see what it is really like to protect and serve. From dispatch operations to traffic law, criminal investigations, evidence collection to mock trials, the Citizens Police Academy is a unique opportunity available to all Huskies.

“We know from talking to past participants that this program is important,” Phillips said. “It’s a truly collaborative effort and something we take great pride in providing for the community.”

Bringas shared the sentiment.

“I have always had a special appreciation for our police and the academy only deepened that appreciation,” Bringas said. “The academy strengthened the collaborative relationship between the Asian American Resource Center and the NIU Police Department.”

The academy is free and open to the public with sessions taking place on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 9 p.m. beginning Jan.30 through April 24. Applicants must register online to secure a spot prior to Wednesday, Jan. 23. For more information, contact the Department of Police and Public Safety.