Princeton police to give insider’s view with Citizens Police Academy

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The Princeton Police Department is offering a Citizens Police Academy, aiming to give Princeton residents an insider’s view of how the police department functions.

The Citizens Police Academy, which is free, runs from April 20 to June 8. It will be held at the Princeton Police Department headquarters at 1 Valley Road and at the Police Department’s training center.

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Police Chief Jon Bucchere said that offering a citizens police academy was one of his goals when he was named police chief in November 2022.

“The Princeton Police Department’s ability to connect with the community is a very big part of what we aim to do day-to-day,” he said.

“Having a Citizens Police Academy will give the people we serve a front row seat to policing in Princeton. We couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity.”

The goal of the Citizens Police Academy is to give Princeton residents some insight into what a police officer does on a day-to-day basis, said police Captain Christopher Tash.

Participants who sign up for the Citizens Police Academy will learn about the procedures, responsibilities, guidelines and law that go into the decisions made by a police officer, Tash said.

Some of the topics of instruction include the organizational structure of the Princeton Police Department, the use of force, police response, and how arrests are made, Tash said. Participants will learn about search and seizure procedures, he said.

Participants also will learn about how and why police officers stop motorists, and also about police officer safety, he said.

In addition to classroom sessions, participants will ride along with a police officer so they can observe police functions firsthand, Tash said.

“The goal of the Citizens Police Academy is not to train an individual as a police officer. The goal is to educate community members on the police profession and to develop an atmosphere of trust and understanding between citizens and police officers,” Tash said.

The Citizens Police Academy is open to Princeton residents who are at least 21 years old. They must also pass a background check. Enrollment is capped at 20 residents.

An application to participate in the Citizens Police Academy is available at the Princeton Police Department headquarters at 1 Valley Road, and online at www.princetonnj.gov/1384/Citizens-Police-Academy.

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