LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 22, 2019) — A defining moment in the civil rights movement took place on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech to a crowd of 250,000 people. Among many things, King shared his belief that through working together across racial divides, “we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.”
More than 50 years later, law enforcement agencies have moved away from reactionary methods of policing and have concentrated their efforts to increase awareness and work together with their stakeholders. Through community policing efforts, members of the community can see past the badge and get to know police officers as individuals.
“Nine times out of 10, police respond to calls that are the worst days of someone’s life,” University of Kentucky Police Chief Joe Monroe said. “It is a challenge for officers to foster mutual understanding of one another in that situation. Their priority is to render aid and get through the event as quickly as possible.”
The relationship between a community and its police department are as intertwined as notes of music and their accompanying melodies. To achieve King’s dream of transforming discord into a symphony of brotherhood, a foundation of trust and understanding must first be built to create harmony.
The cornerstone of community policing, Citizens Police Academy (CPA), has been offered by UK Police Department for the past 13 years. From across the Commonwealth, 25 classes of diverse individuals, from incoming freshmen wearing jeans to lawyers in tailored suits, have graduated from CPA with a stronger sense of safety and clarity of police duties and functions.
Participants gain an enhanced understanding of why police stop certain individuals for questioning, what to expect during a traffic stop and how to prevent theft. Through a combination of lectures, visual materials and interactive scenarios, participants deepen their understanding of law enforcement with a shift in perception toward safety. Most importantly, they are given the opportunity to continue building relationships within law enforcement through their membership in the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association (CPAAA).
Applicants must be 18 and older and successfully complete a background check. Classes are held weekly, from 6-8 p.m. every Thursday, running Jan. 24-April 4 (with the exception of March 14 for spring break). Registration is currently open for the spring semester.
To register, go to the UKPD Citizens Police Academy webpage at www.uky.edu/police/citizens-police-academy-1 and click the link under “Registration is currently open” near the bottom of the page.
For more information about the UK Citizens Police Academy, contact Officer Amy Boatman at 859-323-7447.
UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue