As many of you may remember, The Route 60 Sentinel had the privilege of attending a portion of the first Citizen’s Police Academy that the Enid Police Department put on back in the late summer of 2011.  I was extremely honored when Police Chief Brian O’Rourke invited me back into the classroom for the session that started on Tuesday August 28th.

As with previous sessions, it will consist of 13 weeks of hands on learning about our police department, the personnel, and what their function is within the community.  Each division of the police department will speak with us and be exposed to us.  As Chief O’Rourke put it, “No holds barred.”  We will get to see some cool things and most likely, some very bad things.

Once again, leading the academy are Lt. Gary Fuxa and Officer Darin Morris.  Tuesday, they both went over exactly what we could expect to see and do.  They shared some of their experiences from the past and really did a good job of easing everyone into the process.

Having done this portion before, I must remark that it feels much more refined.  I’m not offering a review like a movie or book, but rather highlighting a difference.  Fuxa and Morris have done an excellent job of streamlining the class so far as compared to the past.

Our first experience in the Academy was with Lt. Ryan Singleton and 911 operations.  Lt. Singleton went over exactly how the center works and what the capabilities are of the center.   They are implementing a new system provided by AT&T that will help them in case of a crisis.  It will allow the center to essentially be mobile.  For instance, pretend Enid is hit with a tornado or some other disaster.  They can take the center and go to another location, plug in and all of their system that they had at the police station will be available to them instantly.  In theory, they could operate the center from anywhere.

In addition, Singleton spoke of his efforts to add additional services to other counties.  Currently, if you call 911 at any place in Garfield County from any phone, whether land-line or wireless, you will get Garfield County 911.   Counties such as Major County do not have 911 capabilities as they simply can not afford it.   However, discussions are currently underway for Garfield County to absorb Major County and accept 911 calls from the county.  Once the call comes in, it would be routed to the appropriate dispatcher in Major County.  This is a win-win.  Major County gets 911 service that it desperately needs and Garfield County gets additional funding without raising taxes or a major increase in costs.

The class is filled with a great cross-section of our community.  Former teachers, current teachers, a college administrator….ok, there’s a lot of people involved in education in this group.  Happy accident.  To fit in, I introduced myself as a physical education instructor at Enid High to laughs from the class.  Obviously, the guy in the back with the camera and tape recorder is not a PE teacher.  However, the class does certainly have a great potential.  We have a parent of a current rookie on the force attempting to understand just what her son will be doing.  We have the wife of an Air Force serviceman who has only been in Enid for a few months, yet seems to enjoy Enid, as she said it felt more like home in Texas.   So, it’s a great group.

Week two will introduce us to all the Captains of the department and we will get an over view of each division and their responsibilities.  Until then, thanks for reading.

Feel free to check out my articles from my first go around with the CPA.  Also, please check out Route 60’s page devoted to crime prevention.  There is some very useful information there.  Particularly the information about Texting in a tip.  This is one of the force’s greatest tools in catching people and getting them off our streets to make it safer for you and I.

2011 CPA Week 1 Article Crime Prevention Interview with Chief O’Rourke