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Littleton's Citizens Academy introduces residents to police work

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Free 11-week course deals with everything from traffic stops to SWAT

By Ramsey Scott

The Littleton Police Department is once again giving citizens an opportunity to see the inner workings of the agency. 

The Littleton Citizens Academy is an 11-week course that gives residents a chance to learn about the many facets of law enforcement, said Littleton police Cmdr. Trent Cooper. 

“What we try to do is give the students a good overall picture of the department,” Cooper said. “We try to make it as hands-on as possible.”

The academy, which is in its 16th year, lets participants see everything from how officers execute a traffic stop to what tools the SWAT team uses when entering buildings. And the participants will not be learning from lectures. 

Cooper emphasized the hands-on nature of the courses. One of the evenings is dedicated to firearms, when attendees use a simulator at Arapahoe Community College’s shooting range.

On another evening, students will secure a floor at headquarters, clearing the rooms as officers would while investigating an active crime scene. Cooper said the lights will be off and participants will have to rely on one another to safely clear the areas. 

“We get them to think about the things they may be confronting in a real-life scenario,” Cooper said. “We try to make it as hands-on as possible to keep people interested.”

Along with the training scenarios, Cooper said, each participant will have a chance to ride along with an officer on patrol. 

Interested residents may call 303-795-3875. The class, which begins in mid-March, is limited to 25 people, and the deadline to apply is March 1. 

The Citizen Academy meets from 6 to 9:30 p.m. every Thursday for 11 consecutive weeks. Participants must be over 16 years of age and live or work within the Littleton city limits, or belong to a city-wide service club or organization.