Lt. Doug Loudin shows a Citizen's Police Academy participant the inside of a police cruiser at a recent class.

BUCKHANNON – Learning about some of the aspects that go into being a Buckhannon police officer has been quite an eye-opener to me and just reaffirms the respect I have for these dedicated public servants and all those who help them.

It is rare to find someone willing to lay down their life for you, and as other people are (sometimes quite literally) “running from the situation,” these folks are running toward the situations to make sure you and I are safe.

The Citizen’s Police Academy has afforded me the chance to get the answers to questions I’ve had.

I am also very impressed with the training and the making of the VIPS – the Volunteers in Police Service – as well as the CERT, an acronym for Community Emergency Response Training.

Did you know the Buckhannon Police Department also offers a Youth Academy? It will begin on June 24 and run through June 28 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Buckhannon Police Department Training Room at 24 S. Florida St.

The Youth Academy is for students currently in grades 5 through 11 and offers students an evidence processing demonstration, mock crime scenes, mock accidents, a session on social media safety, demonstrations of police equipment and much, much more.

Applications for the Youth Academy are available to fifth-graders at the police department or from your teacher. Sixth- through eighth-graders: an application is available at the Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School office or the BPD.

Applications for ninth- through 11th-graders may be picked up at the Buckhannon-Upshur High School office or the BPD.

The deadline to apply is June 7. Questions can be directed to 304-472-5723 or by email to mattgregory@buckhannonpolice.com.

My biggest takeaway from the last few sessions of the Citizen Police Academy is learning how the officers fill out their paperwork and where they get the violation codes from and how I, as a citizen, can access what those codes say.

If you go to www.wvlegislature.gov, the West Virginia codes are available in the drop-down box at the top.

During the class, we had a demonstration of pulling a driver over and what procedures are used to keep the officer and everyone safe. We entered the back of the police vehicles, and I was amazed by the limited amount of space in the back seat in order to keep those riding safe and in place.

If you have some time, I highly recommend attending the BPD Citizen’s Police Academy and becoming a VIP or a member of the CERT team. They could use your assistance and it is a great way to not only give back to your community, but also to get to know a great group of people dedicated to maintaining order and keeping residents of Buckhannon safe.