By Betsy Dolan
Residents who are interested in how crimes are solved or how firefighters tackle burning buildings will get a “behind-the-scenes” look at those challenges by signing up for Missouri City’s Citizens’ Police & Fire Academy.
“Participants will learn about criminal law, experience a staged SWAT operation, a live fire demonstration and use the firearms training simulator,” said Dan Flagg, Community Liaison Officer for the Police Department. “They will experience searching a building for an armed suspect, making a traffic stop at night, and many other hands-on activities.”
The six-week course begins April 2 and is open to anyone who is at least 18 years old and lives or works in the City. Classes will be held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Missouri City Public Safety Headquarters, 3849 Cartwright Rd.
After completing the academy, members will be eligible to join the Missouri City Police & Fire Auxiliary and/or the Citizen’s Response Team. Over the past 16 years the Auxiliary has raised $370,000 to purchase additional police and fire equipment including a new SWAT van, a Utility Terrain Vehicle and fire truck headsets. They have a fundraiser planned on March 30.
In 2011, the Academy celebrated 25 years of tradition in Missouri City, graduating 23 people. The milestone was special because Missouri City was the first community in Texas to host a “Citizens Police Academy” in 1986. The program was spearheaded by then Lt. Bill Ennis, who learned about the concept from Orlando, Florida. Orlando started its academy in 1985 and the format was based on a similar one run by the British. Over the years, the Missouri City Police Department and Fire & Rescue Service partnered to form the Citizens’ Police & Fire Academy; their first class was held in 1998.
For more information on the Citizens Police and Fire Academy, please visit the city’s website, missouricitytx.gov, for the online application.