San Mateo police are inviting local residents to apply for its new Community Police Academy for the spring of 2021, where they will learn and be trained on the functions and role of local law enforcement.
Academy participants will also hear from guest speakers from the District Attorney’s office, see K-9 unit demonstrations, and acquire an understanding of local law enforcement resources, according to the San Mateo Police Department. The 11-week program takes place Thursday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 200 Franklin Parkway.
“This academy will increase our department’s transparency with the public and also give the graduates much needed skills, like first aid and CPR certifications,” San Mateo police spokesperson Officer Michael Haobsh said.
The new initiative is launching amid national calls for police reform and transparency in the wake of several high-profile officer-involved killings, including the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. In June, the SMPD launched a series of online community events called Real Talk San Mateo. The series has police engaging with a variety of community groups, including different ethnic groups, youth, seniors and others, to discuss policing and how SMPD can best serve its citizens.
“Engagement with the community is so critical at all times,” San Mateo Mayor Joe Goethals said, adding, “the job of a law enforcement officer is an important and noble one in our society. This academy is an opportunity to increase understanding and transparency in our city.”
Both the mayor and Officer Haobsh say COVID-19 precautions have added a distinctive challenge to community outreach. The time for that dialogue, however, is now.
Floyd’s killing was a turning point in community and police relations, Officer Haobsh said.
“In our department we take pride in our work, we want to grow as professionals and as people,” he said.
To read more about the San Mateo Police Department’s Community Police Academy or to apply here.
To view the series of Real Talk San Mateo events, go here.
San Mateo Police Department