The St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office just completed the first three weeks of its Citizens Police Academy, a free, 10-week program offered so residents can learn about police work.
The community-oriented program is designed to provide civilians with insights into law enforcement operations, procedures, and the role of police in the community.
“The purpose provides us with a valuable opportunity to foster positive relationships between our citizens and our officers while instilling in participants a vested interest in what happens in their community,” Sheriff James Pohlmann said. “It also affords us a chance to promote transparency and cooperation between us and the community.”
Participants are learning about various aspects of policing, from the use of force policies to crime scene investigations, and gain a better understanding of the challenges and responsibilities of police officers.
During the past three weeks, participants have heard from Deputy Chief John Doran who kicked off the program on the first night by speaking about the various divisions of the Sheriff’s Office and how the rank structure of the department works. He also spoke about the future of policing and how the Sheriff’s Office is investing in state-of-the-art technology and training for deputies.
Special Investigations Division Narcotics Agents James Wood and Jason Saltalmachia spoke about their work to enforce laws related to illegal drugs, including the investigation, apprehension, and prosecution of individuals involved in drug trafficking, distribution, and possession of illegal narcotics.
Stanley Simeon, who spearheads the Sheriff’s Office Addiction Resource Program, spoke about how he works with individuals and/or their families to provide them with information on resources available to them, such as rehabilitation programs, detox centers, therapeutic plans of action and faith-based assistance.
Lt. Brent Bourgeois and Sgt. Bryan Fleetwood Jr. of the Field Operations Bureau Traffic Division spoke about their role of enforcing traffic laws, investigating accidents, and ensuring road safety, followed by Sgt. Richard Skyles and Dep. Mitchell Perkins from the Field Operations Bureau Patrol Division talked about playing a crucial role in maintaining law and order within the jurisdiction by patrolling communities, responding to emergencies, enforcing laws, and ensuring public safety.
District Attorney Perry Nicosia spoke about his office’s role in prosecuting criminal cases, justice and fairness, and legal proceedings, and Capt. Bryan Fleetwood Sr., the head of security at St. Bernard Parish Courthouse, spoke about measures in place to prevent unauthorized access to the courthouse, such as metal detectors, bag searches, and secure entry points, and their role in maintaining safety and order within the courtrooms and security for judges and courthouse personnel.
Upcoming guest speakers will include 9-1-1 dispatchers from the Communications Division, volunteer deputies with the Reserve Division, detectives with the Criminal Investigations Bureau, members of the Marine and Training Divisions, and Special Weapons and Tactics or S.W.A.T. team members from the Special Operations Division.
Participants also will take a field trip to St. Bernard Parish Prison and another night they will visit with representatives from the Louisiana State Police and the State Attorney General’s Office.