Fresno Police Department Residents' Academy now in 4 languages

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A unique law enforcement academy hopes you consider enrolling, but not to become an officer. The Fresno Police Department is reaching out, especially to under-represented groups to learn about police work.

The Residents' Academy gives locals an inside look at how a major police department works. Think of it as the police academy, for everyday people.

We spoke to one man, Vivek Prabhu who enrolled in the Fresno Police Department's Resident Academy in 2021. Prabhu completed the course and says other people should do the same.

He says the program gave him a behind the scenes look into the department and a better understanding of how officers do their jobs.

Prabhu says, "I don't feel afraid because now I am confident, because of the fact that I know them and they know my community and they know me."

The department says says the goal of the program is to educate the public but beyond that, there's also the hope of unity and bringing our diverse community together.

"So transparency, education and building a relationship, because we know that every member of the community that attends the class, looks at police officers differently. We encourage you, if you don't believe that the police department isn't doing their job to your expectations, come attend one of our classes, learn about it, ask questions and allow us to respond to your concerns," says Officer Felipe Uribe, a Public Information Officer with the Fresno Police Department.

Officer Uribe says the 18-week course includes question and answer sessions, plus field trips to the several units within the department. That includes the investigations and K-9 units, along with a visit to the real time crime center office.

In the past, language barriers have prevented some people from participating but for the first time ever, the department says it will now offer the program in four languages including English, Spanish, Hmong, & Punjabi.

Prabhu says, "One of the benefits of offering them in multiple languages is the fact that different language speaking communities, they can get an introduction into how the police department works, they can get familiar with the procedures and processes which the police officers follows and they can get an understanding for themselves on how the investigations are done, and that will make the police appear like members of their own family."

The cost of the program is free. If you are interested in learning more, you can visit the Fresno Police Department's Website here. To apply click here. For a Spanish application, click here.
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