HOULTON, Maine — Officers and administrators at the Houlton Police Department are excited about a new venture that will give residents an up-close look at the duties and work of a police officer.
Houlton Police Chief Butch Asselin announced Friday that the department was launching a “Citizen’s Police Academy” starting April 8.
This is the first time the program has been offered in Houlton.
“I’m really excited about this, and so are the officers,” Asselin said Friday. “The concept has been around for some time, and other departments in the state are doing it.”
The program will accommodate 30 participants and cover such topics as highway safety, seat belt awareness, juvenile correction, investigation, dispatching and much more.
The chief said he would like to see part of the program dedicated to students operating a golf cart around traffic cones while wearing Fatal Vision goggles. The goggles simulate what it is like to drive while under the influence of intoxicants.
The syllabus is still being completed, he added.
The courses will be taught by volunteers such as Asselin, HPD officers and other law enforcement personnel.
Some will be from outside agencies such as the Maine State Police, according to the chief.
“I think this will be a great program that will give people a look at law enforcement through our eyes,” said Asselin. “I also believe that it will have a positive impact on our relationship with the community.”
Asselin said he has applied for a $1,100 grant to secure funding for the initiative. Classes will be held on Wednesday evenings for 10 weeks.
A background check will be conducted on all applicants, and those with felony convictions or an extensive criminal history will not be accepted, the chief said Friday.
To sign up for the academy, visit www.houltonpolice.com or stop by the police station.