Park City offers an insider’s view of police work | ParkRecord.com

Park City offers an insider’s view of police work

Citizen Academy covers traffic stops, weaponry and other topics

Park City police officer Terry Knechtel, the program coordinator who oversees the departments Citizen Academy, assists at a gun range during an earlier academy class. The Citizen Academy offers insight into the realities of police work. The Police Department is readying for the next class.

The Park City Police Department wants to show the realities of an officer's job are different than what someone sees on a TV show about cops.

The Police Department is preparing for the 2017 Citizen Academy, an annual program that provides participants an inside look at police work. The Citizen Academy covers numerous topics related to the Police Department by tapping officers from within the department and outside agencies to describe their duties.

"It gives the public and the citizens of the community a better understanding of what we do as law enforcement officers," said Terry Knechtel, a Park City officer and the program coordinator who oversees the Citizen Academy.

The Citizen Academy, entering its ninth year, starts on May 3 and ends on July 5. It involves weekly sessions from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Wednesdays at the Park Avenue police station. The sessions each cover different topics, including investigating crime scenes, conducting traffic stops and the role of the department's dispatchers. Knechtel said the Citizen Academy will address the reasoning behind traffic stops, saying that an officer may stop a driver if the vehicle headlights are off when they should be on or when a vehicle matches the description of one driven by a crime suspect.

Some of the other topics include conducting arrests and the related tasks of searches and seizures. Instructors come from the Police Department or other agencies. He said a demonstration involving a police dog, a tour of the Summit County Jail, a day at a gun range to highlight police weaponry and a description of the local SWAT team are also planned.

"This will clear up any misconceptions they see on TV or in the movies," Knechtel said.

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The program accepts up to 15 people per year. Knechtel said past classes have included ski instructors, attorneys, doctors, retirees and college students. One person who participated later became a police dispatcher elsewhere in Utah, he said.

There is no cost to participants. Someone must be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen and live or work in Park City or Summit County to be eligible.

For more information, contact Knechtel at 615-5500. More information and applications are available on the City Hall website, http://www.parkcity.org. Select 'Police Department Citizen Academy' in the Events section on the front page. The direct link is: http://www.parkcity.org/departments/police/citizen-police-academy.