Once upon a time there was a little girl who wanted to go to the police academy. Of course, back then I thought policewomen ran around in fancy clothes and high heels. Yes, I wanted to be a Charlie’s Angel. I know what you’re thinking. Give your head a shake, Darlene. TV isn’t real.

Police academy

I grew out of that fantasy quickly and today I write about policing in my mystery stories. And what better way to receive firsthand knowledge than to join the London Police Citizens Academy. I was honoured to be accepted into the program with 18 other participants. We had an amazing mix of students in our class. Some from Columbia, Egypt, Afghanistan, Iraq, Honduras, Rwanda, Syria, and of course right here in London.

DSC02825Each week we learned different aspects of the police services including traffic management, forensics, biker enforcement, cyber crime, guns and drugs and many more. We even met two K9 dogs – Kane and Kuno. We also enjoyed testing our aim at the gun range. And some of you are pretty scary!! What did we gain from each presentation? Oh…where to begin? We learned that ATMs aren’t as safe as we thought, that solving a case really doesn’t happen in an hour like it does on CSI, and pepper spray is not a pleasant experience. Oh and polygraphs can be fun!

I asked a few fellow classmates what their favourite part of the course was and they said getting a code 1 on their ride along, the use of force lesson and shooting at the range. They’ve gained a deeper appreciation of what the police do for us and how they look at everyone the same. It’s clear that our police have great respect for our community.

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For me personally the highlight was forensics, shooting, and the three-hour drive along. I didn’t get a code 1, but it was awesome to see the every day life of a police officer. I joked with the sergeant and told him even though we didn’t have an action-packed three hours, what he would call mundane, I still call exciting because I’ve never been in a police car. To which he quickly replied, “Well, that’s good.” It opened my eyes to how much we as citizens do NOT know about what goes on in our city. It’s mind-boggling. We take so much for granted.

Thank you everyone for coming out tonight to watch us all graduate.

To my classmates, it’s been a privilege to take this course with you. We gained a lot of knowledge and enjoyed some laughs along the way.

To Chief Duncan and the London Police Service, thank you for offering this citizens academy. It’s so important.

DSC02843To all of the sergeants, detectives, and constables who presented to us… and oh…Kane and Kuno, we appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedules to teach us.

A special thank you to Constable Catherine Fountain for organizing everything and looking after us. We appreciate you!

In closing, I would just like to say I personally took this course for research for my books, but what I came out with was so much more than that. I gained a better understanding of what our police officers do every day. My respect has deepened and I will be sure to praise you to everyone I know!

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Thank you.

If you would like more information about this amazing course, click here London Police Citizen Academy.

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