MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – The Mount Pleasant Police Department’s (MPPD) Citizens’ Police Academy is returning for the first time since the pandemic began. It’s an opportunity for citizens to get an in-depth look at how things are done behind the scenes at MPPD. Officials and participants say this is a great opportunity for people to get involved.
The program is meant to provide citizens with an inside look of the Mount Pleasant Police Department from riding along with officers to working with k-9s while building stronger relationships within the community…
“It’s really cool,” says Inspector Don Calabrese with MPPD. “It’s a cool program.”
“Effective policing is all about relationships and that’s what this does, it build relationships,” says Mount Pleasant Town Councilman Jake Rambo.
The Mount Pleasant Citizen’s Police Academy is designed to provide clarity and a closer look at what happens behind the doors of MPPD.
“Nothing we do is secret – locked down, behind closed doors or anything like that so this is an opportunity for us to open the doors and bring everybody in and you’ll hear from every team that we have,” says Inspector Calabrese.
The program gives citizens a chance to learn the tactics, training, policies and procedures of the department. Participants also have a chance to ride along with officers while working with K-9s officers.
“But it really helps for them to kind of understand the back story of how the calls are handled, how they’re dispatched, how we take our reports, how we do our follow-up investigations,” says Inspector Calabrese.
The program was established in the late 1990s under former Town of Mount Pleasant Mayor Cheryl Woods-Flowers who later took the course herself to get a better understanding.
“And I think there’s a lot of misconceptions but one thing I think people realize when they do this is that police officers are just like me and you,” says Woods-Flowers. “You know I mean they’re people.”
The program happens once a week over the course of eight weeks. Each class is two hours long. Leaders and participants say the academy benefits not only those taking the course but the officers teaching it all in hopes of building a stronger community.
“It’s very rewarding and comforting to know that people want to come in and learn about your agencies,” says Inspector Calabrese.
“It’s building those positive relationships with folks so when there is an issue there’s a mutual understanding and respect,” says Councilman Rambo.
Anyone interested in signing up for the academy can do so on the police department’s website. The program will run for eight weeks starting on September 30th.