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Citizens Police Academy is accepting applications

Interested in learning how to shoot a gun, store evidence, and investigate a case?

The Hastings Police Department is accepting applications for its second (the first was held two years ago and 14 people participated) Citizens Police Academy.

"We regard the Citizens Police Academy as a tremendous opportunity to provide interested residents a chance to learn more about law enforcement generally and meet many of the experienced and knowledgeable officers who make up the Hastings Police Department," said Hastings Police Lt. Jim Rgnonti, who oversees the patrol division. "The sessions are a great way for us to get to meet residents and learn about specific concerns that may warrant police attention."

Several years ago, the department was discussing such an academy - other departments were offering them. Former Police Chief Mike McMenomy believes this department should offer it to the community, and Rgnonti coordinated the program. He contacted the Farmington Police Department, which has the program too, learned about their course and went from there.

Participants will have the opportunity to develop an awareness of the various challenges and decisions faced by police officers on a daily basis. This is an opportunity to meet officers and understand their roles in the community.

"They will learn about different police areas and meet different officers," said Rgnonti.

Police Department personnel teach all academy classes. Topics include "Constitutional Law," "Patrol Functions," "Investigations," Crime Scene Processing," "Use of Force, "Traffic Stops," "The Court System," "Emergency Communications," Domestic and Family Violence," "Narcotics and Gang Issues," and "High Risk Tactical Responses." Plus, participants will have a chance to apply what they have learned in a "hands-on" manner through simulated training scenarios that illustrate the very real demands and challenges of professional policing.

The Citizens Police Academy is limited to 15 participants, 18 years and older. They must reside or work in the city of Hastings. A background check is part of the process.

Applications are available at the Police Department's front desk, 150 E. Third St., or the city's web site:

The program is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29, and be held weekly for six weeks.