Yale Police Dept. to offer free program

CBS’ “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” may not be coming to New Haven any time soon, but the Yale Police Department is bringing the Yale and New Haven community the next best thing.

Beginning in October, the YPD will offer a new Citizen’s Police Academy program that will provide insight into the department’s operations and responsibilities. The Academy, which will be free of charge, will consist of six weekly classroom training and hands-on sessions.

YPD Sgt. Steven Woznyk said the program will give a general history of the department and an overview of the services it provides. The goal of the program is to raise awareness and promote understanding of police duties at Yale, as well as to foster partnership between the YPD and the Yale community at large. Some of the topics covered in the sessions will include investigative services, patrol procedures, community policing and simulated firearms training.

The Academy, designed by YPD members Lt. Carrie-Jo McGuffey and Kitty Parente, is similar to other programs at universities and cities across the country. The NHPD offers a comparable program, though more sporadically, Woznyk said. The “very excited” YPD hopes to attract students, faculty and staff participants from both the undergraduate and graduate schools, Parente said.

The Academy will not only offer a glimpse into life on the force, but will help participants learn how to stay safe on campus. McGuffey said the classes will be led by members of the YPD as well as representatives from the New Haven Police Department, Yale Security, University Health Services and the Sexual Harassment and Assault Resource and Education Center.

Many students have already expressed interest in the academy, McGuffrey said.

Some students interviewed Monday said they welcome the program, especially since interaction with the YPD is limited.

“It sounds like a good way for students to learn what goes on behind the scenes at the Yale Police Department,” Horace Williams ’11 said.

But Greg Lipstein ’08 said that although “it’s important to promote transparency between the police force and Yale students,” he would rather see the resources being used for the protection of the whole student body.

New Haven residents are also eligible to participate in the program. Ward 7 Alderwoman Frances Clark said “anything that gives information to people always helps.” Citing one resident’s frustration with the limits of the YPD’s jurisdiction in the city, Clark said that New Haven residents would benefit from understanding what the YPD can and cannot do.

Some students may be interested in the Academy solely for its novelty value. Participants in the program can look forward to a tour of the YPD headquarters, complete with its simulated firing range and real-life crime lab.

“I just want to know if I can ride on the Segway,” Andrew Kurzrok ’11 said.

Applications to the Citizen’s Police Academy are due this Friday, Sept. 28. Enrollment is limited to 30.

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