- Learn more about and register to participate in the MPD's Community Engagement Academy
Last month, thirty District of Columbia residents graduated from the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) Community Engagement Academy. The Community Engagement Academy was launched in 2015 and provides interested community members the ability to learn firsthand about police operations.
“The Community Engagement Academy is very important,” said Marvin Haiman, MPD’s Director for the Office of Volunteer Coordination and Chief of Staff, Technical Services Division. “This program helps introduce community members to the workings of the Department and allows them to hold a dialogue with MPD members regarding current policing issues.”
During the six week and twenty-eight hour program, residents participate in discussions and presentations on recruiting, juvenile issues and investigations, specialized police units (e.g., K-9, EOD squad, and harbor patrol), use of force, policing scenarios, and patrol services.
“The ride-along [with patrol services] was very beneficial,” said Ms. Bones, a graduate of the winter cohort. “Being able to talk with a patrol office while they were working in the community, see the volumes of calls they had to respond to, and the extremes between the calls was very useful.”
The ride-along allows residents to accompany officers during their tour of duty in a police vehicle. The ride-along is just one of the many benefits and reasons participants signed up for the program.
Ms. Pilgrim, who was also a graduate of the winter cohort wanted to get a deeper understanding of what the police do and the various departments. “Before, my perception of the police was based off the media and my own previous experiences, which have not always been the best. I was a little hesitant, unsure, and angry. The program is helping me change my view,” said Pilgrim.
The Department realizes the importance of working with the community and receiving their input in order to maintain an effective police department.
“Building community relationships and partnerships is important. If the community and police can continue to work together, that will make the city more safe and successful,” said Interim Chief of Police, Peter Newsham. “I encourage all community members to participate in the program and look forward to more collaboration.”
Other community engagement programs at MPD include Beat the Streets, Citizens Academy Youth Summit “No Time for Crime”, Jr. Police Academy, Back to School Safety Events, Food 4 Families Project, Shop with a Cop, and more. Additionally, the Department has several ways for community members to volunteer and engage further, including the Police Reserve Corps, Citizen Volunteer Program, and Collegiate Internship Program.