FORT MYERS, Fla.- A WINK News exclusive is taking you behind the badge.
Investigative reporter Sam Smink is giving you a rare look into the training officers with the Fort Myers Police Department get before they hit the streets.
It’s all part of a ten week course called the Citizen Police Academy. It’s an experience open to anyone in the community.
The class is designed to give you, the everyday citizen, a better understanding of how police work.
“This police academy, they don’t hold anything back,” said Melinda Isley, a class member.
The academy shows what police officers sometimes have to do, and why they make the decisions they do.
“Like I said, I had a negative experience with cops before. And I needed to get the other view of what I was feeling,” said Marlette Wells, also a class member.
They place you right in the middle of the action, into real-life scenarios, just like the ones police officers deal with every day. It’s all done in the hopes of bridging the gap between citizens and police.
“With all the controversy as of late, Ferguson, New York, now Baltimore, you know, you say, ‘do I have a distorted view due to my upbringing?’ That’s what appealed to me about the CPA. Basically, testing, was my perception accurate of what FMPD is like?” said Judy Nedeau.
“If you really want to know what it’s like to walk in an officer’s shoes, go to CPA,” said Aria Armstead.
WINK News will continue the exclusive look into the Citizen Police Academy until Thursday. You can catch the stories during WINK News at 5 p.m.