A group of 15 local residents made their way through the recently revived Merced Police Department Citizens Academy, and received their honors as part of a graduation ceremony held in the Merced City Council Chambers last week.
The Citizens Academy gives residents an up-close and personal look behind the curtain to see what local officers contend with while on duty.
Over the course of nearly 40 hours, the academy looks into the various units active within the Merced Police Department — such as SWAT and Gang Suppression, police procedure and investigations, prosecutorial procedures and more. Curriculum ranges from video simulators that strap trainer weapons to residents as they make their way through a variety of encounters, to ride-alongs with officers and classes in “verbal-judo” to learn how to de-escalate verbal confrontations.
Near the end of the 12 week program, residents begin looking into the various community partnerships and programs such as Neighborhood Watch that aim to keep the streets safe.