Citizen Academy graduates recognized by Rifle City Council | PostIndependent.com
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Citizen Academy graduates recognized by Rifle City Council

Citizen Academy graduates with Chief Tommy Klein (left to right), Kevin Kelley, Jonathan Faustino, Ian Wilz, Stacey Wilz, Kent Spinden, Michael Squibb, Carlos Yanez, Kurt Demann, Jenny Roberson, Benjamin Wood, Caleb Jones, Sgt. Kirk Wilson. Not pictured are Elizabeth Hatcher and Mike Dunlap.
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The April 17th meeting of the Rifle City Council was awash in blue as many members of the Rifle Police Department were present to show their support for the 13 graduates of the most recent Citizen Academy. The class was composed of a wide range of citizens from high school students to retirees.

Chief Tommy Klein and Sgt. Kirk Wilson presented each graduate with a plaque and a certificate and thanked them for taking the time to learn more about police operations. One graduate, Jonathan Faustino, has plans to go into the Marine Corp and subsequently pursue a career in law enforcement. Chief Klein honored Faustino with a Rifle Police Department Challenge Coin which are ordinarily reserved for fellow police officers.

The RPD Citizen Academy is 2 hours per week for 8 weeks plus 4 hours one Saturday morning. The curriculum encompasses all aspects of law enforcement. For this session, numerous RPD officers as well as Chief Michael Kite from Silt helped teach the courses.

“Every class was interactive,” explained Sgt. Wilson who organized this term’s program. “Students got to see how heavy protective vests are, make shoe print castings and even climb into the BearCat SWAT vehicle.” 

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The sessions give students an excellent opportunity to experience numerous aspects of what it takes to be an officer. Topics included evidence collection, utilizing canines, investigations and mental health issues. Participants got hands-on time doing such things as making shoe impression castings and dusting for fingerprints.

“I think the most important section was the use of force because of the modern imagery permeating media,” commented Sgt. Wilson. Students were placed in three different scenarios and were firing plastic ink bullets to simulate real life situations. The stress of split second decision making can’t be taught in a classroom.

If you missed this class and are interested in any aspect of the Rifle Police Department, two more sessions are in the works for 2019. The program is proving to be quite successful and the RPD actually has one officer, Shelby McNeal, who completed the program before applying to become an officer. The department is hoping to have one session in Spanish or possibly bilingual this summer followed by another one in English in the fall. 

For information on the Spanish class, please call Sgt. Carlos Cornejo at 970-665-6500. For the English classes, contact Sgt. Wilson at the same number.

Rifle Rapport is a periodic article featuring the people and projects of the city of Rifle. If you have suggestions for future articles, please contact Kathy Pototsky at 970-665-6420 or kpototsky@rifleco.org.


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