Dispatches from the Citizens’ Police Academy

Participants in the 2017 Gulfport Police Department Citizens’ Police Academy graduated on Thursday, March 30 inside City Hall with the help of city council members and law enforcement members. Pictured from left are Debbie Wolfe, Jeff Marsh, Officer Zack Mills, Mayor Sam Henderson, Rexee Gaugh, Carole Gabrio, Police Chief Rob Vincent, Vice Mayor Michael Fridovich, Phyllis Marcum, Sylvia Gustaffson, Linda Craig, Councilmember Christine Brown, John Gustaffson, Diane Zacharias and Jeff Alaimo. Not pictured is Ann Hays. 

Debbie Wolfe has reported from each session of the 2017 Gulfport Citizen’s Police Academy. This is part 11 of 11.

The 2017 Gulfport Police Department Citizens’ Police Academy was co-coordinated by Commander Joshua Stone and Officer Zack Mills.

Eleven participants completed the entire 11-week series of classroom seminars and hands-on field trips, including police-style driving training with a high-speed chase; a tour of the 911 Communications Center and a K9 officer demonstration; a tour of the Pinellas County jail; weapons training and demonstration; learning how to dust for fingerprints, clear hallways in an active-shooter scenario; and the opportunity to ride along with a police officer during their shift.

“Everyone in this academy was very pleasant and represented a variety of people in Gulfport,” said Mills. “We had business owners, a mix of men and women representing different age groups” and a working journalist.

“The goal is to ultimately have fun and to educate people on the various aspects of law enforcement. The feedback I’ve received on this 11-week course is very positive.”

The next academy is scheduled to start on Thursday, January 18, 2018, said Mills. “The weather is nice at that time of the year and we have more seasonal residents.

“But, if I get from eight to 12 people contacting me between now and June who are interested in a second academy in 2017, I’ll be more than happy to try and coordinate another one over the summer,” said Mills.

For more information, contact Mills by email at zmills@mygulfport.us. Class sizes are limited to 12 participants with preference given to Gulfport residents.


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