Friday, November 12, 2010

Citizen Police Academy gets people involved with Springfield police

New to the academy this year is a partnership with students from the University of Illinois Springfield. They make up 20 of the 32 current participants, according to Stephen Schnebly, a criminal justice professor at UIS. He and fellow professors Ryan Williams and Jay Gilliam talked with Police Chief Robert Williams about teaming up to provide student volunteers and a critique of the program.

“In the past, it had gone on without us knowing much about it,” Schnebly said. “Quite frankly, I didn’t expect a huge number of folks to volunteer. It was just an outpouring of interest.”

Schnebly said the academy helps build relationships and trust between police and citizens, who often only know “what goes on in the black box of policing.”

“Research has shown for decades that most crime doesn’t get reported,” he said. “In order for police to be productive in their jobs … they need to work with the citizens they serve.”

The three professors take turns observing the weekly sessions. They take notes and hope to provide critiques after the academy ends.

The research was featured in a November 12, 2010, article in The State Journal-Register.

Download a PDF of the article