Darrell Todd Maurina
Three local law enforcement agencies have worked together to sponsor a citizens’ police academy for the last four years, graduating nearly 100 people from a program that focuses on teaching civilians how the police do their jobs. On Saturday night, a group of those graduates gathered to host a police appreciation dinner at the Holiday Inn.
“They hold the class for the community; they don’t have to do it,” said Holly Glenn, coordinator of marketing and events for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico, which includes the Clovis News Journal. Glenn and another participant, Rebecca Webb, worked together to raise about $2,700 from local businesses to sponsor the dinner and awards for the officers who help put on the citizens’ police academy.
“They deserve it, they don’t get enough recognition,” Glenn said. “They do a good service for Clovis and the community.”
In addition to providing door prizes for officers from the three local departments, the citizens’ police academy participants gave “officer of the year” awards to Ramon Borjas of the New Mexico State Police, Ted Blair of the Curry County Sheriff’s Office and Dale Rice of the Clovis Police Department.
Lt. Bob Morgan of the Clovis Police Department said the citizens’ police academy provides almost as much help to the officers as it does to the citizens participating in it.
“It’s a chance to interact on a personal level with the people we serve,” Morgan said. “This gives us a chance to identify problems the citizens see, and as a community work on them together.”
“Nowadays, law enforcement is set up in a very reactive mode. We drive around with our windows rolled up and respond to calls,” Morgan said. “Over the years, we have gotten more sophisticated in our approach, we cover a much larger territory, and that cuts down on the interaction with the public compared to what was many years ago.”
Morgan said the police academy works on an invitation-only basis, typically inviting community leaders who are interested in learning more about the police and supporting local law enforcement. Each class has about 15 students and classes typically fill up within a few days of being announced.