LAW & ORDER Lombard Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association program helps inform citizens and creates a greater understanding about the duties of law enforcement professionals. Each week, real police action is broadcast into the living rooms of millions of Americans. Average citizens are generally fascinated by crime-fighting, but they seldom get the opportunity to meet the people behind the badges in their local community. In 1998 Lombard joined a growing number of Illinois communities when it initiated the Lombard Citizens Police Academy, a program that helps residents, age 21 and older, better understand police work in their community and develops stronger ties between the community and the police department. “The objective of a Citizens Police Academy program is not to train individuals to be reserve police officers, but to produce informed citizens,” states the website of the Illinois Citizens Police Academy Association. “The citizens and police officers meet each other face-to-
face in a neutral, friendly setting and each becomes a person to the other. In the past, citizens have simply seen a uniform, now they have an understanding about the person behind the badge.” Once interested Lombard citizens have completed the 10-week taught by active officers, they are invited to join the Lombard Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association (LCPAAA), which meets monthly to offer members informative programs and an opportunity to meet fellow residents and volunteer in Lombard. “I took the course when I knew that I was going to be retiring. I was looking for ways to give back to the community where I had lived for 36 years, and this program interested me. Both my husband and son are police officers, and I never really knew everything that they do,” said Margaret Bucholz, LCPAAA president. The membership of approximately
75 LCPA graduates supports the police department by helping direct traffic during large events like the Lilac Parade, the Lilac Time Art and Craft Fair and local races. They also assist the police with holiday weekend traffic safety stops, the Memorial Day ceremonies in Madison Meadows Park, the annual Mutt Strutt and with National Night Out festivities. Some are even trained “wire watchers” who are used after big storms to guard fallen electric wires until Commonwealth Edison arrives, Bucholz said. The LCPAAA also holds its own events like an annual food drive and they raise funds through various fund-raising efforts.
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