Program opens up dialogue between police and citizens

By Drew Teague

Citizens have a chance to get up close and personal with UK Police in a fun way.

Students, faculty and community members can sign up for Citizen’s Police Academy, where they will work with UK Police officers. The Academy offers those enrolled instruction in law, firearms, DUI detection, canine, self-defense and more.

UK Police Chief Joe Monroe said this is a program helps build bonds with the community.

“It’s a program that I envisioned several years ago to open up doors of communication between the public, the university community and the police department,” Monroe said.

The course gives participants a chance to see the police department in a new way, through the interactions.

“What we’ve seen from it is, as people get to interact with officers through the weeks, it gives them a different perspective of who the UK Police really are and what we do,” Monroe said. “A lot of people don’t realize all we do and the capabilities we have.”

Monroe said the program gives preference to those involved with the university, but allows others from the surrounding community to join the class.

“It’s probably a 60-40 split with faculty and staff being more,” Monroe said. “I think last class we had in the spring, we had a few football players.”

Morris Grubbs, the assistant dean of the Graduate School, is a graduate of the program and feels this is a great opportunity for people to be involved in.

“The CPA class is a rare and very valuable and free opportunity,” Grubbs said. “Having police officers share and answer questions about their training and experience, while going behind the scenes of their daily work, is well worth the commitment to attend every class meeting.”

One aspect of the course is to help people become aware of their surroundings and know when to alert authorities.

“After taking the course, I’m much more attentive to my surroundings,” Grubb said in the email. “I’m better able to spot suspicious activity, spot people in need of help, and to alert UKPD or the appropriate campus office right away.”

Paula Dunn, manager of Family and Graduate Housing, is also a graduate from the course, who gained more than just new skills.

“I learned a lot about how law enforcement works, made new friends across campus and was asked to spearhead UK’s Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association,” Dunn said in an email to the Kernel.

Dunn said she would recommend the course to all students and faculty because of what they would get out of the program.

It’s a good way for average citizens to learn how UK Police operates, she said.

“It is a great avenue to increase respect and awareness of all that the officers in UKPD do for the university community and even the larger Lexington and Kentucky communities,” she said.

Dunn said her favorite part of the course was when they got to choose weapons and do a simulation.

“As someone who doesn’t “like” guns, I really hate to admit this answer,” Dunn said in the email. “I most enjoyed the evening we choose our weapons, laser of course, and went through video simulations.”

Registration for the Citizen’s Police Academy course ends Monday Sept. 5. More information can be found at