Classes to Teach Residents About Police Operations

The San Marino Police Department invites residents interested in learning more about law enforcement to sign up for its new Community Police Academy that begins in November.
The academy, also called the CPA, is a six-week program of classes designed to give insight into SMPD operations and background in general law enforcement, in a relatively casual environment. Classes will cover broad topics such as investigative procedures and address contemporary issues such as police officers’ use of force while responding to incidents.
“It provides the community with a better understanding of what a police department does,” Police Chief John Incontro said in an earlier statement. “Agencies throughout the country have been doing this. It’s part of the transparency of wanting people to understand what we do.”
The idea for the program was first presented to the city’s Public Safety Commission in July as a way to educate residents about community policing and the way their tax dollars for law enforcement are spent. (The city currently levies on residents a parcel tax dedicated to public safety.) Similar programs are offered in neighboring communities including Pasadena.
“When you see the police in action, you really see they are doing something instead of wondering ‘Why aren’t they doing something?’” local resident Raymond Quan said in July, having attended the Pasadena program. “Everything you hear out in the field is way more interesting than the didactic version.”
The classes will be on Nov. 6, 13, 20 and 27 and Dec. 4 and 11 — all Tuesdays — from 6-8 p.m. in the Barth Community Room at Crowell Public Library. Applicants must be at least 18; live, work or own property in San Marino; have no felony convictions; and have no misdemeanor convictions within a year of applying.
Participants will receive a certificate of completion at a graduation dinner after the course ends.
The Public Safety Commission was supportive of the CPA when Incontro presented it. The police chief added that other communities with such programs often call upon their graduates to volunteer at events like July 4 celebrations or parades that tend to stretch smaller departments’ resources.
Those interested should contact Cmdr. Aaron Blondé at (626) 300-0720 or at ablonde@smpd.us.

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