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Beaumont Police Department hoping to grow citizens police academy with free program

It's a way to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community in hopes of creating a better Southeast Texas for everyone.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Building a sense of community is a huge part of what keeps Southeast Texas growing.

Beaumont Police are going the extra mile to get the community involved in their day-to-day work with a free program.

The citizens police academy is a way to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community in hopes of creating a better Southeast Texas for everyone.

“The citizens police academy is one of the best tools Southeast Texas law enforcement has to get the public on our side and let them know what we're doing," said Beaumont Police Chief Jim Singletary.

The program is going on its 29th year. Singletary said that the citizens police academy is a way to partner with and educate the community.

Officer Danny Valdez agrees, saying it gives the community a way to learn more about the work police do every day.

"The first half of the class may be K-9 coming to talk to you the second half may be the homicide division will come talk to you and they may talk about when the dogs are used when they're not used, why they can't be used on this or that," Valdez said.

The program lasts for 15 weeks. The classes consist of presentations from different divisions and give attendees opportunities to ask questions like how and why officers do what they do.

President of the citizen police academy, Roy McGrath said the program helped him build a relationship with officers. He said the benefits are endless.

"It makes a better community,” McGrath said. “It builds stronger relationships with people, build stronger relationships with the community, and I can't think of a better organization to volunteer with.”

Valdez said the program is making a difference by encouraging citizens to get involved in helping keep crime off the street.

"Every now and then, I may get a phone call saying, ‘Hey I’ve got this going on, this seems suspicious,’” Valdez said. “And I’ll be like ‘Hey, call the department,’ or they may need guidance like, ‘Hey, who do I call?’"

Fall enrollment is open now, and classes start up again on August 11. You must pass a background check and be at least 18 years old to apply. To apply, fill out an application online at Police.BeaumontTexas.gov.

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