Have you ever had a feeling that you were just meant to do something and when you saw a post it just glowed at you? That is how my journey started in the late summer months. In 2018 I saw this amazing class that I wanted to take, but I was working my second job the nights the class met. I never thought about it again. Fast forward to 2019 and late summer I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw this post about a Citizens Academy.
City of Branson Police Department posted on their facebook about their Citizens Academy and it just glowed for me to apply for it. I was thinking I had no chance to get in because I wasn’t a citizen of Branson. A few weeks later I received a call from an officer letting me know I was going to be taking the class. The excitement I felt was out of this world. They could have sat me in a class with a PowerPoint every week and I would have loved it!
We arrived to a class of about 25 people. The first night was accompanied by a PowerPoint just like I thought, but I had no idea about some of the things they went over. The first WOW was when we heard the Vision statement for the Branson Police Department. The first sentence reads “Our reason for being is our community”. They are here for OUR community!
A few other things we learned that first night was the organization of the police department, how the city is sectioned up into 4 parts, the PD is understaffed, programs that they offer, and how they operate in general.
On the second week, we learned about the Support Services Division. This night we went over the general duties of the dispatch unit, Communications, Records, School Resource Officers, Animal Control Unit, Community Resource, Training & Recruitment, and lastly Code Enforcement. This is all on top of the patrol that we are familiar with.
Administrative Sergeant is in charge of the contract paperwork, grant applications, fleet management, and research projects.
Dispatch Unit answers 911 phone lines, administrative lines when emergency calls aren’t coming in, maintain police call log, dispatch calls for service, and confirms warrants.
Records Unit is in charge of general clerical duties, routine information to the public fills requests for police reports for other agencies, and submits statistical data to federal and state repositories.
School Resource Officer Unit serves in the Branson Public School. They help reduce and prevent crime, provide security for students and the entire campus, be an educational resource, build partnerships, and guides students in problem-solving, During this, I learned this summer they took a few kids that were “at-risk” and spent an entire week with them. They went out to do community service, see shows, and various other things. They said that multiple kids are doing better this year after that experience.
Animal Control Unit is exactly what it sounds like and is just like we thought it was.
Community Resource Unit works with hotels to ensure adherence with the Tier Program, oversees the Police Explorer Program, Coordinates Community Engagement Events and anything else that comes up.
Training & Recruitment Unit helps with travel requests, training docs, helps with the hiring processes, and ensures compliance.
Code Enforcement Unit enforces the city ordinances, inspects hotels, building permit review, new building inspections, and nuisance abatement.
Patrol Division is more than just pulling over cars. They have to ensure the safety and security of the public and property, providing a visual presence to deter crimes, be the face of the Police Department, and interact with citizens.
During our 4th week, we were taught how to lift fingerprints and general investigations tacts.
On our week with the SWAT we were able to see a “flash bomb”, try on the gear, check out their night vision, and learn more about what they do.
Harold Clements taught us about the communications unit. He stated that they are the Gold line between Blue and Red.
We also were able to learn hands-only CPR. This allows us the resources to jump in if the need was needed.
Lastly, we were able to try out the simulation that the police use for training. This was one of my favorite parts of the week.