POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 31 PANS in the community Charlottetown’s Deputy Police Chief Brad MacConnell hopes last December’s Citizen Police Academy graduation will be the first of many to come. Nineteen Charlottetown residents received certificates at city hall after finishing the three-month course, which aimed to give residents a better understanding of policing. He said the academy also provided police officers with new perspectives. “We hope this is the start of many Citizen Police Academies to come,” MacConnell said before handing out the certificates. “Charlottetown Police Services is always looking for ways to build relationships and partnerships and gain new perspectives on the many diverse communities within our city and province.” MacConnell said he floated the idea of the academy to senior management and the city’s protective services committee earlier last year, with some wondering if there would be enough interest in the program. “I said ‘don’t worry, if we build it they will come.’ And they did,” said MacConnell. While 40 residents applied for the course, police ultimately selected 20. One person had to later leave the program due to his employment. Graduate Omair Imtiaz said the course was eye-opening. “What an amazing experience…when signing up for this, I wasn’t 100 per cent sure what it was all about,” he said. “The gained knowledge and insight is incredible.” The group met for about three hours every Tuesday for 12 weeks to go over a number of aspects in policing from dispatch and community to the basic court process, crime scene forensics, the e-watch program, illegal drug trade and even the emerging outlaw motorcycle gang presence in the province. Imtiaz noted the class also got an inside look at some higher profile cases, including the collaborative police work required in 2016’s “screencutter” investigation. Imtiaz said he was impressed to see how closely the city police works with RCMP to keep the province safe and commended officers for what they do. “The countless hours, who can forget the overtime, missing important family events and holidays… to help keep us safe, that’s what you guys do,” said Imtiaz. “And for that, on behalf of all the cadets and guests in this room, we thank you.” MacConnell also praised the group, whose members he described as committed, respectful and engaging. “I don’t think I could have picked a better group of people for the first citizen police academy. We, as instructors and staff, enjoyed it as much as you guys did,”said MacConnell. “We didn’t just build partnerships, we built friendships along that way. I hope tonight is not the end of our relationship.” Mayor Clifford Lee congratulated graduates while also noting that society often takes for granted the work done by police officers. “Seldom do we thank (police) but folks be assured your work does not go unnoticed,” said Lee, who felt graduates from the program likely now have a better understanding of the challenges and frustrations officers may face. Chief Paul Smith noted that Charlottetown police delivers services from a “community-based” policing concept with the principle that officers must partner with the public. “The citizen police academy is another way to expand that philosophy and to strengthen our partnerships with the broader community,”he said. “The academy provides our citizens not only with an inside look at law enforcement and modern policing, it is also designed to provide participants with the understanding of why the partnership between police and the community is so important.” Originally published on Dec 18, 2017, by Mitch MacDonald, The Guardian Seeing Charlottetown policing from the inside Omair Imtiaz, right, receives a certificate from Charlottetown Deputy Police Chief Brad MacConnell after graduating from the Citizen Police Academy. Imtiaz described the academy as an eyeopening experience that gave him a greater appreciation for the work of law enforcement. Deputy chief hopes to continue Citizen’s Police Academy after initial success