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The 2020 spring session for the Bella Vista Police Department's Citizens Police Academy is starting March 17.

This will be the fifth year and ninth session for the 10-week program, which will meet Tuesday evenings with a Saturday session one week and puts attendees into a ride-along with an on-shift officer.

Capt. Tim Cook, who will be administering the spring class, said that the course's goal is to give citizens a close and realistic look at the department, how it works and what officers do.

"They get to see stuff that's part of our class that was part of cases and everything," he said. "They actually get a true feel."

The class covers several aspects of the department, including its dispatch center, criminal investigative division, the K9 units, patrol, different types of enforcement, court procedures, the Benton County jail, firearm use and more.

While there have been small tweaks and improvements to fit with changes in the department, he said, the core class is fairly similar to previous years.

One change is a close look at the department's tactical response team, which was established in 2018, he said. This section highlights the gear and tools they use -- though the class omits strategies and tactics the team doesn't wish to make public knowledge, Cook explained.

Another addition is a revamping of the criminal investigative division session of the class, thanks in part to CID Lt. Byron Stival, who was hired in 2018. Cook said Stival has redone a lot of the class session on CID, and attendees can expect a revamped experience.

While some is new and shiny, he said, the whole course is a joy to teach.

"I enjoy all parts of it," he said.

The department began accepting applications near the end of January and has already received several, Cook said.

Anyone who wants to get in should apply quickly, he said.

Anyone interested in applying can visit the department's website at https://bellavistaar.gov/bvpd; email Cook, tcook@bellavistaar.gov; or call the police department 479-855-3771.

Applicants are required to be at least 21 years old and have no criminal record with felony convictions and/or arrests for domestic abuse.

"We just want people that want to be part of it that legally we can have in the class," Cook said.

General News on 02/12/2020

Print Headline: Citizens police academy to start ninth class next month

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