Officers get to show their stuff

Glendale residents can go behind the scenes at the Glendale Police Department during a Citizen’s Academy next week.

It is the third time the department as held the free academy, which gives participants an in-depth view of the various divisions within the department, said Jerry Uebel, who is a former officer and serves as community liaison for the department.

“What we do is we try to give them a close-up look at police work — more so than the general public sees most of the time,” he said.

The class meets one night a week for 12 weeks, during which time participants take part in seminars about everything from the department’s vice, robbery-homicide and forensics teams to its K-9, juvenile crimes and community policing divisions, Uebel said.

Citizens will take part in exercises such as a simulated “shoot/don’t shoot” situation, where attendees play an interactive video game that tests their ability to make split-second decisions, he said.

Traffic officers also come in to show participants how radar guns work and K-9 officers demonstrate how police dogs are utilized to sniff out narcotics, Uebel said.

While she enjoyed the whole academy, former participant Marion Mandeson said, the most exciting part was when they went out to the police firing range and learned about the SWAT team and how to fire a gun.

“It was just totally impressive; every night was something new and exciting,” she said. “They kind of spend on night on each department. You learn about the gangs; you lean about drugs; you get into forensics.”

Mandeson has volunteered for the department through the years, gaining exposure to the different divisions, but the Citizen’s Academy provided much depth, she added.

“They tell you much more than you’re ever going to remember,” she said.

Though completion of the citizen’s academy does not come with any certification as a reserve officer, department officials tend to regard the academy as a recruitment tool for police volunteers, Uebel said.

“I want people to feel like they’re really a part of the police department family,” he said. “And they’re really treated that way.”

The Glendale Police Department’s Citizen’s Academy begins on May 21 and runs through Aug. 6. The class meets from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Wednesday night, with one Saturday meeting. The class is free to the public, but they only take 30 participants. For more information, call Uebel at (818) 548-4015 or visit the Department’s website at

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