UNH Police Department to host eighth Citizen's Police Academy

By Melissa Proulx
On January 28, 2014

The UNH Police Department's eighth Citizen's Police Academy is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Feb. 5 from 7 to 10 p.m. and will run for 13 weeks. Each class will be held on Wednesday at the same times, primarily at the 18 Waterworks Road location of the UNH Police Department with a few Saturday excursions scheduled for later in the spring.

At the end of the programs, participants will receive a certificate of completion that will forever remind them of the experience that they had.

"If you are in the Justice Works Program [here at the university], you are also eligible to receive some extra points as well," UNH Police Officer Joseph Morganella said. Morganella is in charge of scheduling and running the entire program.

During their time, students of the academy will be shown the true life of a police officer not just on campus but in the surrounding area. Officers from the Durham and Dover police departments will give guest lectures on topics such as constitutional rights, use of force, women in law enforcement and more. They will also get hands-on experience during their time at the academy, participate in a drunk-driving simulation, a tour of the county jail and ride along with an officer on a day of their choice.

"It's really dynamic stuff to teach," Morganella said. "The most concise definition I can give of police work is that it's eight hours of boredom followed by eight seconds of sheer terror. It's a really great program and it shows that it certainly isn't always a boring job. We really try to show what it is we're doing and break it all down for you."

It was Morganella who first brought the program to UNH. Before coming to the university, Morganella worked for the Durham Police Department until 2002, where he ran programs for them there. When UNH Executive Director of Safety Paul Dean suggested the idea, Morganella jumped at the opportunity. Since that first year, the success has only grown.

"There have been times we've had more than 40 people signed up for the class," Morganella said. "And it's not only UNH students. In some classes, we've had more than half a dozen [UNH] staff members come as well."

This year is expected to be no different.

"We got a late start [letting everyone know when it would be this year], but we've already had about seven people sign up," Morganella said. "Everything is pretty much in place and we should have enough people to do a good run."

Morganella believes that a large part of the program's success comes from the voyeuristic experience that it provides for participants.

"Inside, a lot of people like the excitement and action of police work," he said. "This allows them to get an idea of what it's like."

"We've had people take the course who have said that it's completely changed their minds about police officers," he said.

Those interested in the course can sign up online at UNHPD's website: http://www.unh.edu/upd.

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