Copperas Cove: Citizens Police Academy expands offerings

COPPERAS COVE, Texas (KWTX) Copperas Cove Police are kicking off their 33rd Citizens Police Academy Thursday, and they've added some features.

(Photo by Chelsea Edwards)

Twelve weekly three-hour courses will cover a variety of police-related topics including interacting with officers and what to do in an active shooter situation.

The new sessions include the “Shoot, Don’t Shoot” simulator in collaboration with the Central Texas College Police Academy.

It’s the same type of training police recruits get when they sign up for the force.

Each participant has to choose whether to use deadly force based on virtual scenarios that mimic scenes that an officer might face in the field.

“I think it gives as close as you can, a first-hand look of what officers have to experience,” said Copperas Cove police Sgt. Kevin Miller.

“You're going to be exposed to stuff you might not necessarily be exposed to when an officer first shows up on scene. You're going to get pulled back and look at it from our point of view,” he said
The course also includes a new collaboration with the Fort Hood Army Substance Abuse Program.

The program often brings demonstrations to local middle and high schools to warn students of the effects of driving under the influence.

The group is bringing goggles that participants will wear that mimic the effects of being under the influence of a variety of substances that include alcohol, marijuana, PCP and prescription medication.

“A lot of us don't think of prescription drugs as an impairment,” says prevention coordinator Carl Smith.

“A lot of us do take prescription opioids or pain relievers and we don't think about that when we get behind the wheel of a car.”

He is expecting the exercise to be especially impactful in Copperas Cove’s military community which is made up of soldiers and veterans.

The courses also give residents a chance to bond with officers while getting a better understanding of local laws.

“It's opened up channels of communication, so it's a huge building block,” Miller said.

The Citizens Academy will run on Thursday evenings until graduation on May 10.

For more information, contact the Copperas Cove Police Department.