Albany Citizen Police Academy graduation
If police are involved, bad news tends to follow, right? Wednesday night it was a different story, as police celebrated 15 citizen volunteers' dedication to complete a 14 week course that will help them work together better to serve the community's needs. Our Erin Vannella reports.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- "I've been here in this particular house for 13 years and the community for 34 and it hasn't gotten better," said Albany resident Beverly Padgett.
So one 14 week police course later, with certificates and T-shirts to boot, Arbor Hill resident Beverly Padgett joined 14 other graduates in the Albany Citizen Police Academy.
"I learned that the police aren't just police," said Padgett. "They're masters in their own profession. They're professionals. They're professional drivers and professional sharp shooters. They have master's degrees. They're just not riding around in a car."
Padgett says she's watched community policing work around her Third Street home and joined the Academy to fill the gaps in her understanding of police, so she in turn could arrest her neighbor's misunderstandings and often misgivings about the department. And that, police say, is just what they need.
"To have the average person get to know us, that we're brothers, fathers, sisters and mothers, to get past the uniform and see us as real people is awesome," said Albany Police Sergeant Dermot Whelan.
It's about increasing communication to work together, and to help foster a mutual respect between neighborhood and department. And if it takes a K-9 presentation, or a day at the shooting range, a horse meet-and-greet, or a driving course then both citizens and police say it's a no brainer.
"I just wanted to get a feel for what they do and what they see, 'cause I wouldn't put on a blue uniform," said Padgett. "No I wouldn't do it cause it's too dangerous. I really respect their families for letting them come out here with their children and wishing that their daddies and mommies come back home at night."