The Yale Citizen’s Police Academy offers a hands-on, inside look at the campus’ policing agency for the law enforcement minded and ordinary resident alike.
Yale Police are in the midst of hosting the free weekly class at police headquarters at 101 Ashmun St. for the program’s third straight year. The class covers key policing duties, including forensics and detective work, and how those missions relate to the public. YPD officials said the purpose of the class is to help participants to feel safer within and outside Yale grounds. No Yale students are attending the program, so the YPD will have to focus on the members of other parts of the Yale and New Haven communities to raise awareness about crime prevention and self-defense.
Lieutenant Mike Patten, one of the program’s organizers, said the class was originally intended to increase the department’s presence within the Yale community. He added that former YPD Chief James A. Perrotti also created the class in response to the popularity of similar programs in police departments.
Joe Lynch, who works at the Yale Office of Student Affairs, said he attends the classes to “get the inside scoop.”
During each class, a different officer or member of the department speaks about their area of expertise.
As a result, participants acquire an extensive understanding of the way the YPD operates, its goals, and how it interacts with New Haven and the Yale community, said Lt. Jay Jones, one of the guest speakers.
The class will cover the door-to-door mini-bus service, citizen’s rights as a crime victim, the difference between civic and criminal cases, identity theft and how to prevent it, and the undercover IMPACT team, four to five undercover officers who regularly patrol Yale, according to the class syllabus.
Attendees have a wide range of reasons for attending, but all those interviewed said they are enjoying the experience.
“The class has been much better than I ever expected. I feel like I have learned a lot,” said Delaney La Rosa, a Yale employee at the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. After receiving her graduate degree in Nursing, La Rosa worked extensively with incarcerated patients who were also rape victims. She said she is taking the class to better understand police resources for rape victims. But La Rosa added that fitting the class in between work and life is a challenge.
“It is hard to make it every week,” she said.
For others the class is a stepping-stone in their professional development. John Venditto, a security guard at the Bass Library, said that although his current post does not require him to take the class, it is necessary for other jobs such as security guard at the Beinecke Library.
But none of the participants are Yale students.
“If it was one hour, I might go,” Amal Ga’al ’14 said.
The Citizen’s Police Academy also teaches students about police patrol cars, weapons and technology, and fingerprints and photo boards. Lieutenant Jay Jones, one of the leaders of the class, said that this class is useful for those considering a career in criminal justice.
Nick Ferrigenl, 19, said he always wanted to work in law enforcement and that this class was helping him understand it is really like. Richard Nesto, a student at Albertus Magnus College who also wants to be a police officer, takes criminal justice classes at his school in addition to the Citizen’s Police Academy.
The class offers a very “open environment,” said 21-year-old Jerome Meyers, another New Haven resident who wants to become a police officer. Participants can learn from people working in the field he added.