Earlier this year, two Newton Medical Center (NMC) staff members participated in the Newton Police Department’s (NPD) Citizen Police Academy. Nancy Davis, systems analyst, and Shane Meier, director of facilities, gained a working knowledge of Newton’s police department.
Both Davis and Meier enrolled in the program because of their history and interest with law enforcement. Davis was once a Sheriff’s cadet and had thought of being an officer and Meier’s dad and brother worked in law enforcement.
“My main reason was to see the inner workings of the Newton Police Department,” said Davis. “I wanted to see how I might be able to support them.”
The Citizen Police Academy, according to the NPD, is designed to promote a better understanding between the community and the police officers who serve it. The course highlights various areas of the law enforcement profession, including juvenile justice, radio procedure, narcotics, gang awareness, K-9 demonstrations and investigations.
“As a dog lover, the K-9 unit was a highlight for me,” said Davis. “More than anything though, is the compassion these officers express to protect and defend the public to the best of their ability. It reminds me of NMC’s goal to protect and defend our patients.”
A forum for citizens and police officers, the academy seeks to unite and improve understanding of the interactions necessary to maintain a safe community.
“Throughout the course, a key takeaway for me was the cooperation between agencies,” said Meier. “There appear to be no walls between the NPD, Harvey County Sheriff and North Newton Police Department. I was impressed with how well all the agencies work together, keeping our community safe.”
Meier went on to express his concern on the challenges these officers face with social media.
“Often only one side of the story is shared on Facebook, Twitter or even the news,” explained Meier. “Since these stories are often part of an ongoing investigation, the police are unable to share their side, making it difficult to explain why something happened the way it did.”
Meier explained that his interest in the program went beyond simple curiosity.
“As director of facilities, my responsibilities at Newton Medical Center include life safety and security,” said Meier. “I think forming a strong relationship between the hospital and NPD benefits both organizations.”
Newton Medical Center continually works towards strengthening relationships with the local law enforcement agencies and is proud that Davis and Meier took the initiative to deepen their understanding of the community’s law enforcement.
NPD’s Citizen Police Academy begins in February, and meets once a week for several weeks. Davis and Meier were two of six participants in this year’s academy.
“There is so much that citizens don’t realize the police department goes through,” said Davis. “I highly recommend people take this class.”