The White Hall Police Department's third Citizen's Police Academy class graduated May 15 after meeting 2.5 hours one night each week since March 20, said Richard Davies, a retired Pine Bluff police sergeant and a part-time White Hall officer.

The White Hall Police Department’s third Citizen’s Police Academy class graduated May 15 after meeting 2.5 hours one night each week since March 20, said Richard Davies, a retired Pine Bluff police sergeant and a part-time White Hall officer.

Graduates included Eddie Berg, Donna Boone, David Bridges, Trisha Childress, Elizabeth “Beth” Cook, Ric Cook, Courtney Cooper, Elizabeth “Beth” Dial, Sharon H. Draper, Michelle Durham, Gary Flood, Karla Flood, Ruth Fontenot, Dana Gammel, Jerry Goss, Amanda Hall, Greg and Kayla Needler, Brenda Johnson Rogers, Kim Scallion, Wanda Simpson, James Smith, Barbara Summers and Barbara Wegner.

Topics covered during academy classes included traffic law, drug awareness, search and seizure, making communities safer, crime scenes, fingerprinting, use of force, riding with a police officer on patrol, gang awareness, the legal system, and tours of the Metropolitan Emergency Communications Association center and the Jefferson County Juvenile Detention Center, the latter two in Pine Bluff.

White Hall police personnel and guest instructors provided participants with an overview of the department’s “responsibilities, functions and procedures, while providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and concerns relating to our community,” said Police Chief Richard Wingard.

Davies said the classes are designed to expose myths about law enforcement for those who have exposed to television shows where the murder or other crimes are neatly solved within 30- to 60-minutes.

Academy participants must commit to one night a week over two months and a visit to a firing range to learn about firearm safety, with several White Hall officers serving as adjunct instructors.

Participants ride along with a police officer on a routine patrol shift, learn how to dust for latent fingerprints, had an opportunity to become familiar with “drugs on the street and how they can spot people who may be abusing drugs,” Davies said.

Davies said the department is tentatively planning to conduct a Citizen’s Police Academy II this fall for graduates of the first three sessions, noting the advanced course will be more involved and include subjects not covered in earlier classes.