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Learning with the Law – Week Twelve

learning with the law banner of Anastasia at class

Editor’s note: This is the 12th in a 14-week series of first-person accounts of the highly popular Hilliard Division of the Police Citizens Police Academy.

Week 12 of Citizens Police Academy started with a few announcements, one of which was that my classmates voted for me to serve as the 11th CPA Class Representative. That means I get to speak on behalf of the class at graduation. I am excited and thankful for the support of my classmates, but only time will tell how that speech will go.

Dinner was barbeque from Legacy Smokehouse, provided by two lovely sponsors: Japanese Automotive and Painter & Associates. If you haven’t had Legacy since it came to Hilliard, you’re missing out on some killer barbecue!

I have mentioned a few times in previous columns “the case of the missing teapot.” It continued this week with a mock trial, complete with actual lawyers and a magistrate. I’m going to be vague in this week’s blog because I want to encourage others to take the class themselves, and I don’t want to give away too much detail.

What I can say is that tonight really tied together everything we have been learning during the past 11 weeks about police work. One part of policing that almost none of us sees is the trial portion. We know about enforcing laws, but many know very little about what comes next.

The lessons learned from essentially every past CPA class played a role in this week’s role play, and this week session taught us how each piece of the puzzle fits into why our police department operates the way it does.

We saw how thorough reporting and proper protocol comes into play in the courtroom, as well as how the laws we’ve learned about come in action. We heard an example of a defense attorney criticizing an officer’s response to resistance. In the case of the missing teapot, even more criminal investigative work came into play. Also coming into play in the case was an OVI, an officer pursuit, a crash investigation and the use of firearms.

I’ve known every week that what I was learning about was worthwhile, but to see the big picture and end product based on these lessons was cool. Sgt. Cohill is a pretty good actor, too!

We ended this week’s class with a presentation from Matt Garrido, president of the Hilliard CPA Alumni Association. He spoke about what opportunities come next for us as CPA alumni. I knew taking this course would teach me a lot, but I underestimated how many opportunities it would present once I graduate and how much more I can become involved in the community!

The CPA puts on 75 to 80 events in a year. That is a lot of work! And, they are involved in fundraising, helping with security, volunteering at events put on by other organizations, celebrating our officers and first responders, and continuing their education by making trips and getting tours of various other places.

There is a lot to still contribute and learn. As a 501c3 not-for-profit, the Hilliard CPA Alumni Association works to make money for HPD, Norwich Township, and others in the First Responder Family who may need support. When two Westerville police officers were tragically killed last year, Hilliard CPA was able to donate more than $3,500 to their families.

This week I learned the true purpose of this course. Yes, it’s for fun and it’s for knowledge, but — like I said from day one — it all ties back to the concept of community policing. When I graduate in a few weeks, I not only am leaving with a wealth of knowledge and more than 20 new friends, but I have become an even bigger supporter and piece of the HPD family.

Completing the Citizens Police Academy isn’t about becoming an expert. It’s about learning how to play the best role you can in helping our police help our community. Frankly, that is one of the most valuable lessons I think I will ever learn.

Anastasia Bradley is a student enrolled in the 11th class of the Hilliard Division of Police’s Citizens Police Academy, a 14-week course that teaches residents about police work. She is a lifetime resident of Hilliard and works as the Aquatics Supervisor for the City of Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department. She is a Disney fanatic and has a serious fear of Kangaroos.

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