Steve Tartaglione and Colleen McKenna have spent their last five Thursday nights at the Dubuque Correctional Center. The couple is halfway through a ten week course put on by the Dubuque Police Department called the Citizen’s Police Academy.
Steve explained, “I came in because I was being a good husband. I didn’t necessarily think this was going to be a cool fun thing… I was super super wrong.”
The Dubuque Police Department held their 23rd session of the academy this year.
Captain Scott Crabill has been working with the 30 or so students enrolled in the course to increase police transparency with the public. He explained, “People are interested to see what cops do on a day to day basis. It’s an overall basic understanding of why the police do what we need to do.”
Colleen is excited by the fact that they don’t tread lightly on sharing the truth. “If you ask them a question they’ll answer it they don’t kind of dance around it, they give you the truthful answer and they really take you behind the scenes and you get to see everything that they do.”
With a constant questioning of police actions, Dubuque is hoping to keep the issue at bay by offering the public a look behind the scenes.
Steve explained the problem a lot of people experience when encountering police officers, “It’s easy to look and not see something other than a badge or a gun.”
But over these ten weeks the department is trying to do just that, show the community that police officers are more than a badge and a gun. Captain Crabill described the course, “It’s an outreach to the community.”
By answering the questions of community members Dubuque PD is hoping to ease the tension and stigma surrounding the profession and create advocates in the community.
Colleen shared why she thinks the course is so helpful. “I think in any case like this case or other cases if you aren’t informed on something and you know you’re hearing a lot of information and mumblings about this stuff I think it’s always better to go straight to the source and learn.”
The course is ten weeks and takes place every Thursday from 6:00pm to 9:00pm at the Dubuque Correctional Center.