Prescott Valley Police Department Educates Public in Citizen's Academy

22 February 2017
Prescott Valley Police Chief Brian Jarrell speaks during the opening class of the 2017 Prescott Valley Police Department Citizen's Academy on Tuesday Feburary 22nd, 2017 in Prescott Valley, Arizona. Photo by: Torrence Dunham
Eleven Week Course Will Teach Citizens Everything About Police Department

PRESCOTT VALLEY- It was back to the days of school for Prescott Valley resident Elizabeth Shattuck, 70, and thirty others who brought their pencils and pens to the Prescott Valley Police Department on Tuesday night and began an eleven-week journey to learn about their hometown police department.

“It’s a whole lot of fun,” said Shattuck who mentioned she is participating in the program because of the impact from Sergeant Jason Kaufman during a block watch meeting in her community. “They put a whole lot of energy and time and thought into making something interesting for everybody.”

Kaufman and his team of community outreach officers put the program together in two months and gives participants of the class an in-depth look at the department through tours, presentations and worksheets. Citizens will learn procedures the department uses to hire and train new officers, gather evidence and even about how to avoid being scammed.

“A lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of energy was put into this,” Kaufman said. “We are going to cover everything from A to Z so everybody who is attending this class knows every single thing there is to know about the police department itself and how we function.”

The program returns after a five-year hiatus and is aided by the half-cent sales tax enacted in the town during 2016. Prescott Valley Police Chief Bryan Jarrell said the increase granted the department to hire more community and police officers which allowed the flexibility to attend a variety of community events.

“Our goal last year going into this budget year was to do four community outreach events, this past year we did over thirty,” Jarrell said.  

Through these events, the police department is looking to make an impact on the community in a positive way not only through the citizen’s academy but also in programs such as “Coffee with a Cup” and block watch meetings.

“It lets people see us one on one and that we are human beings-we are not robots,” Kaufman said. “We live in this community-we are here to protect people in this community-and we are here to serve the people.”

After one class, it is clear Shattuck and her classmates will learn the inside and out of their local police department while building relationships with those who protect them on a daily basis.

“I just find it very fascinating that they do so much and they don’t get enough credit for it,” Shattuck said. “A lot people think they are just mean and they just want to arrest people and that’s not the case.

“They really are community people that want to make our community safe,” Shattuck continued.

The program takes place at the Prescott Valley Police Department every Tuesday night from 6pm-9pm until May 2nd and will occur twice a year. In order for people to participate, they must go through a background check.

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