Lawton Police kick off Citizen Police Academy

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - The Lawton Police Department started their annual Citizens Police Academy Thursday evening .

The 12-week course started with an introduction and a talk from the gang unit about what they do.

Gary Ensley said he applied for the class because he wants to better understand how law enforcement works.

"There's a lot of questions that I've had over time and out of curiosity I want to find out," he said.

Ensley's biggest question is about laws. He wants to know how officers let people know what is or is not against the law. Once he has that question figured out, he wants to share.

"I always tell everybody I deal with, 'you need to let the police know' so, they know what's going on. We are their eyes and ears," Ensley said.

Educating others is exactly what they hope these residents will do once they finish the academy. Sgt. Timothy Jenkins said the academy gives Ensley and the 24 other students opportunities to ask questions that they might not get to ask in passing.

"Coming through this class, they can see what happens from the time they take the report until the end of the case," Jenkins said. "They can see what happens through the whole process and learn a little bit more about us."

And learning about that process is why Ensley signed up, along with one other aspect.

"Chain of command," he said. "How someone can go from the very bottom to the very top if they need to get something taken care of. Make them accountable just as we're accountable."

Ensley said he's also interested in getting more involved in the department once the citizen's academy is over.

Next week, attendees will learn about the patrol division and the department's history. It's too late to join this year's citizens academy, but they plan to hold another one in 2019.

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