By Stan Karpf, GSAC Board Member
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How many of you are aware that the City of Naples Police Department conducts a Citizens Police Academy once a year commencing in mid January and ending in March? There is even a graduation ceremony after eight weeks of classroom and hands on training. I even received a diploma!

Classes are held on Thursday evenings from 6-9 PM and there were two additional classes held on either a Saturday or Sunday morning from 8 AM – 1 PM.

Those two were particularly exciting. The first, the driving obstacle course where you actually drove an NPD patrol car, lights flashing and siren activated through an obstacle course located at the Naples airport and the other was a firearm and SWAT demonstration held at the Collier County Gun Range where we were taught to shoot a gun.

The Academy offers a behind the scenes look at the NPD and an opportunity to meet the incredible men and women who serve.

Unfortunately, our class was informed, now that we know almost everyone in the Department that speeding is speeding and running a red light is running a red light and if caught doing so we will still receive a ticket. We were all disappointed by that since we were hoping our new friends in the NPD might be helpful in taking care of that, no such luck.

We participated in a wide variety of activities including scenario based situations, traffic enforcement, criminal law, vehicle operations, police dispatch (911), and forensics.

Shooting a Taser and actually operating a radar gun one night on Goodlette Frank Road was particularly exciting.

You will also have an opportunity to ride along in a patrol car and in an NPD boat with a marine officer.

The official graduation ceremony at the end of the eight-week session included comments from our new Chief of Police Ciro Dominguez and Master Officer Jeff Perry who clearly spent hours to assemble the program.

Jeff is also the Community Police Officer for GSAC, he is a very important member of our community and over the years has become a good friend.

Another highlight of the graduation ceremony was the swearing in of two new members of the Department.

The NPD recently reinstated the K-9 unit which was disbanded a couple of years ago.

At our graduation ceremony our two new police dogs were sworn in, Max, a beautiful golden retriever who is the Department’s new crisis care/therapy dog handled by Officer Perry and Tessa, a black lab is our new firearms & explosives detection dog handled by Officer Ty Fortune.

Both dogs were brought up on stage and as they sat attentively taking the oath with paw held up were sworn in by Chief Dominguez and of course they received a loud and enthusiastic round of applause.

You will have an opportunity to register for this program again, as NPD will begin accepting applications in May. I suggest you do so, but remember, the class fills up rapidly so apply early.

A big thank you to all the men and women in the NPD who made this event possible with a very special thank you to Master Officer Jeff

Perry who leads the program along with Jennifer Tate, Assistant to Chief Dominguez who worked tirelessly at coordinating each class, and to the Chief for supporting this terrific program.

The City of Naples was recently ranked the “safest city in the USA” by US News and World Report, a big thank you to the fine men and women who got us there.