The Missoula Police Department is now accepting applications for its 2014 Citizens' Law Enforcement Academy.

Assistant Police Chief Scott Hoffman said on Friday, January 3, that the academy is for anyone who wants to get an inside look at how law enforcement works on a day-to-day basis.

"We open it up to anyone who is interested in how we do things, and this is the 17th year we've offered the academy," Hoffman said. "It's a nine class seminar every Thursday evening from 6 to 8:30."

Hoffman details the material to be covered for those who attend the academy.

"We cover just about everything," Hoffman said. "From how the police department was formed to patrol and investigative operations. We go through the specialized patrol functions like traffic and street crimes units, you'll learn about DUI officers and the quality of life issues that we face in Missoula. We look at some past investigations, the drug task force, and we even look at gang activity in Missoula. We also look at our special teams such as the SWAT team and our negotiation team along with our emergency ordinance disposal team."

After a class on the use of force and firearms training simulations, Hoffman said the academy attendees are informed about volunteer opportunities with the department.

"Right now we have about 27 people who volunteer with us here at the department and help with lots of things that would unduly tie up the officers if it wasn't for the volunteers," Hoffman said. "There's no cost to the program, and we only meet once a week, but on the final day, which is a Saturday, we do a little crime scene investigation and then give a tour of the whole department."

Hoffman explains why space is limited in the yearly academy.

"We offer each attendee the opportunity to do a ride-along with an officer on patrol, and so we have to limit the numbers, so we can only take the first 32 to 36 people." Hoffman said. "We need to know by January 17th for sure who is committed to attend."

Hoffman said to sign up for the Citizens' Law Enforcement Academy, visit the city of Missoula website, or call Laurie Clark at 552-6320.

Assistant Chief Scott Hoffman


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