Cop class to teach people about law, firearms and self-defense

By Anne Halliwell

The Citizen Police Academy is a free series of classes that will instruct partipants in areas like law, firearms, DUI detection, the canine unit at UKPD, and self-defense.

The class runs most Tuesdays from 6-9 p.m. in room 205 of the Student Center until Nov. 19.

Students, teachers, and community members are taught through lectures, audio-visual aids and interactive scenarios.

The CPA’s goal is to facilitate understanding of police practices in the Lexington community.

Officer Evan Ramsay of the UKPD taught the legal class on Tuesday, Oct. 1. He supplemented technical terminology and explanations of the rights of police officers and citizens with anecdotes and examples from almost eight years of police service.

“We start with law just because it sets the groundwork for everything that follows… hopefully (students) will get to use that knowledge in other classes,” Ramsay said.

Throughout the class period, Ramsey went over the basics of procedural law, like the elements of an incident that must be met in order to charge someone with a crime.

The class reviewed famous rights and court cases like Terry vs. Ohio and Miranda vs. Arizona, which resulted in the establishment of the Terry frisk and Miranda rights.

Ramsay questioned the class and, in doing so, identified and promptly corrected common misconceptions about the extent of police privileges.

“I personally believe that there are a lot of misconceptions about what we can and cannot do,” Ramsay said. “By teaching some of these things… showing it from our point of view… (I can) clear up any misconceptions.”

The fall 2013 CPA class consists of seven members, which allowed for question-and-answers and tailoring of the discussion to meet students’ interests.

Eileen Doan, a psychology freshman, was interested in learning about the police force because it relates to her current ambition of becoming a detective.

Similarly, Will Young, a Lexington community member and part-time student is considering a career in law enforcement. Young participated in the CPA in 2011, but wanted to retake the course in order to learn about the changes in Kentucky’s laws since then.

Ramsay said that the following classes would expand and build upon the material from the first class.

He pointed out that because UKPD operates on a college campus, the department is scrutinized more closely than police may be elsewhere, and must therefore put greater effort into following the letter of the law.

“It’s a college campus, everybody’s eyes are on this…” Ramsay said. “We’ve just got to be on our game… and dot all our i’s and cross all our t’s.”

Ramsay said that the goal of the legal class was to allow the students to see crimes and charges from the police officers’ point of view and to introduce them to their set of rules.

“Some of these things, like when you get into DUI and things… try and put yourself in our shoes,” he said. “What would you do?”