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UB to Hold Police Academy to Strengthen Police-Community Bond

By Avery Schneider

Release Date: December 8, 2009

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- For the second year in a row, members of the university community will have the opportunity to get to know the police force that protects and serves it on a daily basis as part of the University at Buffalo Citizens Police Academy.

In a seven-week course beginning in February, students will learn about University Police operations and the role of police officers in the justice system.

"It's a way for the community to have a better understanding of what the police do," says Gerald Schoenle, chief of University Police. "It's a really good educational opportunity for them, like a mini-police academy where they get to experience a lot of what police officers do in a police academy."

Classes are conducted in an interactive setting taught by University Police officers and other public safety professionals. Subjects taught include fire and first aid, New York State penal law, traffic and accident investigations, criminal and crime scene investigation, and family offenses and domestic violence. Students participating in the program will have the opportunity to accompany University Police on a patrol ride-a-long, along with other hands-on activities.

"[There's a] basic overview of defensive tactics," says Schoenle. "We let them use fire extinguishers and fire a simunition weapon. There's an opportunity to do some hands-on work, investigate a crime scene -- they can kind of role play CSI."

Similar academy programs have been instituted throughout the country.

"I think it helps students become better citizens," says Schoenle. "It's another part of their academic experience. One of our previous students said it was probably the best thing she did so far in her three and a half years at UB."

Classes will take place Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. for approximately three hours beginning Feb. 10. The class size will average 20 students, and is open to faculty and staff as well. Classes are non-credit bearing for university students.

For questions and applications for the Citizens Police Academy, contact the University Police at 716-645-2228, e-mail Lt. Dave Urbanek at urbanekd@buffalo.edu or visit them in Bissell Hall on the UB North Campus.