116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — A four-week program led by Johnson County law enforcement agencies aims to give residents a better understanding of policing and also share information about community resources.
The “Behind the Badge” program will be led by Iowa City and North Liberty police and officers from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and University of Iowa Department of Public Safety.
The program is a shorter version of the 10-week Citizens Police Academy, which is not taking place this spring due to COVID-19 and staffing issues, said Daisy Torres, community outreach assistant with Iowa City police.
During the weekly three-hour sessions, individuals will learn about K-9 officers, bomb squad, special response team and crisis intervention.
Representatives from the Domestic Violence Intervention Program, Rape Victim Advocacy Program and CommUnity Crisis Services will offer information about their services.
Law enforcement agencies also will provide information about their initiatives and programs, Torres said.
“Just showing folks there's lots of ways to go about things, and we're doing our best to make sure it's a comprehensive approach,” Torres said.
This is the first time a shorter program is being offered, Torres said. If it goes well, she added, it can potentially be offered in the fall to supplement the Citizens Police Academy, which happens in the spring.
“Maybe looking at this is something that's reasonable and perhaps not as time intensive” as the Citizens Police Academy, which typically doesn’t include information from nonprofits, Torres said.
Before the pandemic, participation in the police academy was going well, Torres said. Fifty people, the maximum, had signed up for the academy in 2020 before the event was canceled by the pandemic.
Past participants said they gained a new awareness of the training officers go through and the resources available in the county.
To sign up
This spring’s four-week program has 25 spots available. Participants will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis.
The course will be held on Wednesday nights, March 23 through April 6 at the Joint Emergency Communication Center, 529 Melrose Ave. in Iowa City. The final session, on April 13, will be at the UI Department of Public Safety, 200 S. Capitol St.
The cost is $10, but the fee can be waived for eligible participants.
“We do want people to feel invested, but we don't also want (the cost) to be a barrier for attending, so there is a scholarship available if folks are eligible,” Torres said.
Application forms can be found online on the City of Iowa City’s website and can be mailed or dropped off at the Iowa City Police Department, North Liberty Police Department or UI Police Department.
The application deadline is 5 p.m. March 11. Those selected for participation will be notified by email about one week after their application has been received.
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