The 2013 Citizen Academy is coming to a close with graduation slated for tonight, Monday, March 25th. Over the course of nine weeks, thirteen Madison residents learned about some of the many issues and duties handled by officers of this department. This year marks the seventh year of the Citizen Academy, which was created to give citizens the opportunity for an insider's view of the operations of the Madison Police Department, from traffic enforcement and forensic investigation to constitutional law and use of force considerations.
I feel that this program gives its participants, and those with whom the participants share their experiences, invaluable insight into the values, goals, and objectives of the Madison Police Department. Attendees this year represented a wide range of professional backgrounds, to include a retired professor, a pastor, an athletic coach, and a veterinarian, just to list a few. They were also chosen to represent a variety of ethnic and social backgrounds, and live in many different neighborhoods across the city. The Citizen Academy is a venue for constructive conversation and education for both citizens and the department alike, and the insight that attendees have into the issues and concerns they have regarding their neighborhoods, the city, and the police department are one of the many positive interactions that are shared through this program. Past attendees have told me personally that they appreciate the new knowledge about the hows and whys of our work that they gained from being participants, and have expressed that the Citizen Academy has been a valuable and positive experience for them.
I urge those who are interested in participating in next year's Citizen Academy to visit our website for more information. Thank you and congratulations to all of this year's participants, and I hope that your time with us in the Citizen Academy was as positive and informative to you as it has been to this department.