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Chapel Hill Police Department to hold academy to increase community education


The Chapel Hill Police Department is hosting a community police academy that will be open to anyone who wants to learn more about the department, whose headquarters are pictured on Wednesday, March 8, 2023.

The Chapel Hill Police Department is holding a Community Police Academy to teach community members about the department's role in the Town and the purpose of its divisions and units.

The Community Police Academy will feature six free Tuesday sessions from April 11 to May 16 and a final session on May 20.

CHPD Training Captain Danny Lloyd said the academy is an opportunity for community members to meet police officers and gain an understanding of the jobs of the police in Chapel Hill in a hands-on way. 

“We're hoping to kind of highlight the different divisions and units within the department and give them each a chance to come and to share what they do,” Lloyd said. 

He said each session will feature a general overview of CHPD, then the patrol division will explain the qualifications to become a police officer. They’ll explain how they react to 911 calls and go into depth about training for prospective officers. 

Lloyd also said CHPD's legal advisors will speak about several laws related to policing in the Town, and Alex Carrasquillo, the department's public information officer, will discuss how CHPD shares information with the media. 

The CHPD Crisis Unit will walk community members through its co-responder model, where social workers are paired with officers to respond to a range of different situations. 

Simon Palmore, the chairperson of the Town's Community Policing Advisory Committee, said that as the country is in the midst of a conversation about the role of police, holding these sessions has become all the more important.

“As we have these conversations about the role of police, I think it's really important for members of the community to deep dive into what this police department is doing,” Palmore said. “And having that understanding will provide context and provide depth and nuance to broader conversations about the role of police period.”

But Palmore said the academy program will not solve all concerns that the community might have regarding the relationships between themselves and police.

“I also don't think we can pretend that you know, participating in programs like the Community Police Academy and building relationships with certain police officers can heal relations entirely between community and police no matter what. It's definitely not a silver bullet,” he said.

Palmore said even those not participating in the program should reach out to ask any questions they may have regarding the police department.

Camille Berry, Chapel Hill Town Council member and council liaison for the Chapel Hill Community Policing Advisory Committee, said the program will help the community get to know officers better.

“I've gone on a ride along with a police officer and spent some time with some of our officers,” Berry said. “It’s really awesome to see them as individuals, to see them as people like we are with a sense of humor.”

She said the opportunity to ask questions is important, as it may address people's assumptions about the police.

Applicants needed to be age 16 or older, but there were no other restrictions. Lloyd said he hopes to have a wide range of participants at the event.


@DTHCityState | 

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