05/24/17 — Policing their own communities

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Policing their own communities

By Ethan Smith
Published in News on May 24, 2017 9:57 AM

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Members of the first graduating class of the Goldsboro Police Department's Citizen Police Academy pose for a group photo with a few of their instructors after a ceremony held at the Goldsboro Events Center Tuesday night. Graduates include: Back row, James Harris and David Meador and front row, Joanna Stallings, Viola Figueroa and Kimberly Jones.

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James Harris makes a speech on behalf of the graduates of the Goldsboro Police Department Citizen Police Academy Tuesday night at the Goldsboro Event Center. Harris, who says he has been involved with the police department for decades, thanked organizers and said that he learned so much that he never knew.

The Goldsboro Police Department graduated five people from its first-ever Citizen's Police Academy during a ceremony held at the Goldsboro Events Center May 16.

Viola Ryals-Figueroa, James Keith Harris, Kimberly Kaye Jones, David P. Meador and Joanna C. Stallings all received certificates of graduation.

Takera M. Holmes, Ravonda C. Jacobs, Tyrick D. McCoy, Brittany Robinson and Shaquila Iyana Rouse were all awarded certificates of participation, though they were not present to receive them.

In order to receive a graduation certificate, participants had to miss no more than one class during the nine week long program.

"Our mission was to teach participants about the philosophy, policies and guiding principles of law enforcement and ethical conduct governing police service in the community," said Capt. Trey Ball, one of the organizers of the academy.

Ball said the primary goals of the academy were to build stronger relationships between the community and Police Department, give the public a better understanding of what police do, provide the public with the opportunity to give police feedback and increase community support of the police through teaching participants the ins and outs of policing.

During the academy, participants were taught search and seizure laws, room clearing techniques, saw RADAR/LIDAR demonstrations, how to conduct a traffic stop on a person who is a known risk.

Participants also took part in DWI exercises, learned techniques from the department's crime scene unit, saw K-9 demonstrations, learned about use of force policies and more.

"It's very important for people to come out and want to learn more about law enforcement and how our department operates," said Goldsboro Police Chief Mike West.

"Sometimes as a law enforcement agency we might think we don't need to let the public know everything we're doing, it's kind of us and them. We can't continue to operate like that."

Harris took time at the end of the ceremony to thank the officers who taught the courses and share his thoughts on the overall experience of the class.

He said he's been involved with the Police Department for about 40 years, and still learned something by participating in the academy.

"On behalf of myself and all these students, I'm very appreciative of what this city does for the citizens of the city, going the extra mile," Harris said.