Citizen Police Academy plans dance

Published 2:30 pm Thursday, July 16, 2015

Local youth are invited to a new social event being organized by the Demopolis Police Department’s Citizen Police Academy.
Children ages 8-17 are invited to participate in a dance that will be held on July 18. There will be two sessions, children ages 8-12 are invited to participate from 5 to 7:30 p.m. and teenagers, ages 13-17, are invited from 8 to 11:30 p.m. The dance will be held at the Theo Ratliff Center and there will be a $5 admission fee that the CPA will use for future events, including another dance that could be held August.
The event is being completed organized and run by volunteers. Other individuals and businesses are helping through sponsorships.
“We wanted to create an event that would help build a positive relationship between the police department and our youth,” said Marie Ford, one of the volunteers helping to organize the dance. “This will be a party for the children and something new for them to enjoy.”
The DPD’s Citizen Police Academy provided community members with an inside look at law enforcement through a variety of training sessions, including police ethics, internal affairs, drug enforcement, traffic law, criminal investigations, and firearm safety. The eight-week program is designed to give citizens an overview of the DPD’s policies and procedures.
It is the alumni of the CPA program who are working to create the dance event.
“A lot of people are coming together to make this event a success. We are hitting the streets for donations and getting the word out. It has been very encouraging to see the community and businesses help,” Ford said. “We invite local churches, youth organizations, and others with ideas or who would like to help to let us know. We want this to be a big success and the more involvement we have the better.”
Ford said everything at the dance will be $1 with proceeds going to help build on future CPA community programs. A group of local teenagers will set up a photography booth and take pictures.
Among those volunteering at the dance will be nine off-duty police officers serving as chaperones as well as Sumter County Sheriff Tyrone Clark. Everyone involved at the dance will be volunteering, including a DJ.
Members of the CPA dance committee include Ford, Sandra Reece, Sonja Ransom, Melanie Soronen, Sheila Rogers, Shekita Hall, Carolyn Willis, Judy Pritchard, and Jessica Bonner.
“The committee members are doing the hands-on work and doing what needs to be done so the children can have a fun time,” Ford said.
The goal for the CPA alumni is to continue its efforts to strengthen the bridge between local law enforcement and the community. A second dance is already being scheduled for August 29, but Ford said they want to do other things as well.
“We would like to do something each month. We are also looking at programs designed to reach out to our senior citizens,” she said.
The DPD offers three sessions of the CPA each year. The next session will be held in the fall. Alumni on the group continue to be associated with the department, helping with special events or emergencies. Participants must be 21, live or work in Demopolis, and pass a background check.