I'm really pleased to share that I have been nominated to participate in the 1st Cohort of the Metropolitan Police Department Community Engagement Academy. Six residents from each of the seven MPD districts were nominated by MPD leadership to take part, and I was nominated by Fourth District leadership to attend.
I'm really not sure what to expect, per se. According to the nomination papers, the Academy is a six week, 28-hour training program offering information about how DC MPD operates, from the academy to station tours, overviews of specialized policing units like the harbor patrol and K-9, and class discussions on juvenile issues, policing scenarios and use of force. I'm thinking the goal is to create "champions" within the community that can liaison, promote and help MPD engage with residents. (Note that I'm not going to the police academy and not going to be a police officer... this is a learning opportunity for civilians.)
I think this is a great idea for the District of Columbia, MPD and residents. The more the police department reaches out to the community, tries to be as transparent as possible and creates connections in the community, the more readily we trust each other, and reduces the potential for civilian / police conflicts.
The first class is this Thursday, June 4th, and continues through mid-July. I'll share what I can from the training either during or after it concludes. (I'm secretly hoping there's a helicopter ride above DC somewhere in the tours!)
My thanks to 4D Commander Wilfredo Manlapaz and Inspector Vendette Parker for nominating me and giving me the opportunity to learn more about MPD and share those learnings with neighbors.
I really am taking this seriously, and I know I know I know it's somehow wrong, but ever since I received the letter with my nomination, all I can think of is Steve Guttenberg...