Citizens Police Academy registration still open

St. Bernard Parish residents can register now for the next Citizens Police Academy course, a free, 10-week program offered by the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office so residents can learn about police work.

“The course shows residents various aspects of law enforcement and gives them an insight on how and why things are handled in a certain manner,” St. Bernard Sheriff James Pohlmann said. “Its purpose is to foster a positive relationship between our citizens and our officers, while instilling in participants a vested interest in what happens in their community.”

Classes begin Aug. 23 and will meet each Wednesday at 7 p.m. through graduation night in October. Classes will be held in the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office second-floor training center, 2118 Jackson Ave. in Chalmette, directly behind the Parish Courthouse.

For more information or to register, call Capt. Charles Borchers at (504) 278-7628 or Sgt. Eric Eilers at (504) 278-7799. Capt. Borchers, head of Community Relations for the Sheriff’s Office,  coordinates the class along with Sgt. Eilers.

During the course, Borchers said, participants will hear from Sheriff’s Office commanders on various phases of law enforcement, including patrol work, narcotics enforcement, detective duties, and SWAT team demonstrations. Participants also will be given boating safety tips, tour the Parish Prison and experience a firearms simulator.

Borchers said participants are placed in the shoes of a Sheriff’s Office deputy by way of computerized, simulated videos.

“The simulator creates real life scenarios of what an officer may encounter,” Borchers said, “and it challenges participants into making split-second decisions on whether or not they would use deadly force on a criminal suspect.”

Borchers, who is over the Crime Prevention and Neighborhood Watch programs for the Sheriff’s Office, said nearly 1,000 residents have completed the Citizens Police Academy course since its inception 19 years ago.

“It has really become a popular course among adults,” he said. “This program gives residents a real feel for what police work entails and it’s about as realistic as we can make it for them.”