JRoss@EmpireTribune.com

Addressing a nearly-full training room of local residents attending this year’s Citizen Police Academy Thursday night, Stephenville Police Chief Jason King, Sgt. Sha King and Lt. Doug McClammy didn’t disappoint.

The academy has been on hiatus for the last several years as Chief King explained in a previous interview.

“Interest rises and wanes, but we felt that there was enough enthusiasm for it to bring it back this year,” he said.

The 10-week program is aimed at giving residents an intimate look at what police work is all about in general and specifically, in the city’s P.D.

Thursday’s session opened with a welcome from Chief King followed by an explanation of the department’s personnel structure.

“Who do we work for?” he asked. “We work for the citizens of this community; we work for you. We have nearly 20,000 bosses in addition to the people at Tarleton, and we are here to serve every one of them.”

Following a break, which included sandwiches, snacks and soft drinks, Sgt. Sha King took the reins and explained the selection process a potential police officer must undergo.

Candidates must possess either a GED high-school equivalency certificate or be a high school graduate, be at least 21 years of age [except in very rare circumstances], pass a written test, complete an obstacle course, undergo a background investigation, have an oral interview [at this point there may be a formal job interview,] pass a polygraph test and undergo medical and drug screening.

Assuming the candidate makes it through all that and is hired, they must then attend the police academy at Tarrant County Community College, a challenge that entails 700-plus hours of training, Sgt. King explained.

City councilman Russ McDanel is a member of the class. He said this about the evening’s session: “The Citizen Police Academy is a fun and exciting experience, allowing us to see and hear firsthand how the SPD operates. Chief King, his staff and well-trained officers are presenting information to our diversified group that I intend to share with the rest of the council.”

This reporter is also one of the members of the 2015 class and can say that the three hours flew by, was extremely informative, casual and fun.

The Q&A sessions were especially useful as class members asked thoughtful, insightful questions and were responded to in a knowledgeable, professional way.

The SPD’s Week One of the Citizen Police Academy deserves an A+ for preparation, strength of materials and visuals and overall instruction.