By day, Rachel Kammerer teaches high school English in Stephenville. But for 10 weeks last fall, Kammerer became a student herself - learning the ropes of police work.

The 30-something-year-old mother of one said participating in the Citizen’s Police Academy was an adventure of a lifetime, one she decided to take part in after her husband completed the program the year before.

“I can’t say enough good things about the Citizen’s Police Academy,” Kammerer said. “We got a real-life glimpse into what police do on a daily basis. It was fascinating.”

Kammerer said on two separate occasions she rode with an officer during a patrol shift, something she called an “eye opening experience,” but her favorite part was when she participated in a mock traffic stop.

“We got to pretend to be the cops and we pulled them over,” she said. “They were able to explain the procedures to us and tell us what we did wrong. It was really neat.”

Now, others who would like to share in that same experience and learn more about what it’s like to be a police officer or investigator can sign up for the Citizen’s Police Academy slated to begin Aug. 23. This year the program has been extended to 12-weeks and will be held from 6-9 p.m. every Thursday through Nov. 8 at the Municipal Service Center.

Det. Sgt. Russell Ford, who coordinates the program, said the Citizen’s Police Academy is designed “to give the public a working knowledge of the Stephenville Police Department’s personnel and policies.”

Ford said the instruction is comprehensive and covers all areas of the police department including criminal investigation, interview and interrogation procedures, and the K-9 unit. The class also gets to tour the Erath County Jail and learn more about the Texas Rangers, the Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney and County Attorney’s Offices.

The minimum age for enrollment is 21 and participants must live or work in Stephenville or have an interest in law enforcement to attend.

For more information, call Det. Ford at 918-1273. Applications can be picked up at the police department or on the Web site at and must be returned no later than Aug. 16.

SARA VANDEN BERGE covers courts, law enforcement, and business and political issues for the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at Her work number is 968-2379, ext. 240.