BPS wrapping up citizen academy

Published 7:29 pm Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A wall of smoke and near darkness are all a firefighter sees when he or she enters an inflamed house.
“You can’t see anything,” former Bainbridge Public Safety Chief Eric Miller said at last Tuesday night’s Citizen Police Academy class. “You hope you can find a glow while someone works to vent the house and get some of the hot gases out.”
BPS is finishing up its first Citizen Police Academy, which it began this January. About 10 to 15 citizens have attended each class on Tuesday evenings.
Topics have varied from use of force and weapons to evidence collecting and processing to firefighting last week.
“Law enforcement is dealing with the human element and emotions,” Miller said. “Fire fighting is dealing with science.”
The class detailed the similarities and differences between police officers and firefighters and the benefits of BPS’s officers being cross-trained. Miller said that the priority list for each is the same: life safety, scene control and property protection.
One of the biggest differences is the amount of manpower used. Miller said that the majority of BPS’s cases require only one or two officers, but fighting fires is much more labor intensive.
Some of the classes were more of a lecture style, but others included a lot of interaction like the class hosted by the Criminal Investigation Division. The CID team members brought in their raid equipment and showed various videos, said Julie Harris, Bainbridge community affairs director.
The classes were a lengthy two-to-three hours long, but were kept interesting with a lot of chance for discussion, Harris said.
Harris said that it is unclear if BPS will continue the class after Miller’s resignation last week, but that he had hoped to offer it once a year and offer a class for teenagers.

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