Hampton Township Citizens Police Academy returns
Residents can sign up now for the second annual Hampton Township Citizens Police Academy, which will be held from 6 to 9 p.m every Thursday from April 4 through May 30.
The free program will again be held at the township community center on McCully Road.
“The program is designed to give the average citizen a better understanding of the criminal justice system (and) the role police officers play in the community,” according to the township website.
Applications can be obtained at the Hampton Township Police Department, also on McCully Road, and must be returned by Feb. 28. Participants must be 18 or older.
Officer Chris Finnigan, who has been with Hampton Police Department for nearly 13 years, will again be leading the training.
He said it gives participants an opportunity to see the perspective of an officer or law enforcement professional, especially in certain situations.
New this year to the academy is a day dedicated to CPR certification for each participant, said Finnigan. And the North Hills Special Response Team will discuss the techniques they use and talk about their specialized role in Allegheny County.
If his schedule permits, former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett will discuss his efforts in obtaining federal government support for local police. There has been no confirmation regarding Corbett’s availability, Finnigan said.
Students will be presented with information on several key law enforcement topics. Such topics may include police academy training, crime and vehicle codes, narcotics investigations, the role of the court system, use of force issues, evidence collection and more.
Finnigan said the students will also experience SIMTAC, a simulated training program that puts the participant in everyday scenarios in which they have to determine proper use of force, just as an officer would have to.
While some of the training requires participants to be active, it is minimal, said Finnigan. Any age older than 18 is welcome. Last year, participants’ ages ranged from mid-30s to mid-60s, and there was a mix of men and women, he said.
Last year, there were 28 students, and Finnigan said feedback was positive.
“They wanted to learn more about what their local police department had to know and do,” said Finnigan, who grew up in Pittsburgh’s South Side.
Hampton Township police Chief Tom Vulakovich agreed.
“There were a lot of people interested in it. We’re going to do this yearly,” he said.
Before coming to Hampton, Finnigan worked in Sewickley Township and Rankin and with Port Authority of Allegheny County Police. He was a Marine for seven years.
At the end of every day, Finnigan said, class participants would come up and hug him. He’s excited to share his experience as an officer.
“It’s what I always wanted to do,” he said.
For information, contact Finnigan at 412-486-0400, ext. 387, or chris.finnigan@ hampton-pa.org.
Natalie Beneviat is a