Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Police Academy for Asians

By Dawn Campbell

A retired police sergeant teaching Asian citizens about the history of the Des Moines Police Department doesn’t happen everyday at the Des Moines Regional Police Academy, but it happened April 29, 2008. This was part of the content for the first day of class for Asian citizens attending the 1st Annual Asian Citizens Police Academy.

Retired Sgt. Mike Leeper, who is in charge of the police department’s museum, shared interesting facts about the police department and how things have changed over the years. Attendees learned how officers in the early 1900’s, without the use of cell phones and communication units, communicated with dispatch via special phones located within their patrol areas. Officers were required to phone once every hour or half hour whether they were in need of assistance or not.

Leeper also shared the somber side of being a police officer with attendees. Photos of officers who have died in the line of duty were shown to students. Leeper explained how this slide show is shown to every new officer who joins the department. It gives new officers an awareness of the dangers associated with this job, he explained to the group.

Over the next eleven weeks, citizens in this class will learn more than just the history of the police department. They will meet officers, learn about the different bureaus within the department and also go through some of the training police recruits do while they are at the academy.

Senior Police and Asian Outreach Resource Officer Doua Lor assisted in the creation of this program. According to Lor, this program will assist in bridging the communication gap that occurs often between law enforcement and the Asian community. To Lor’s knowledge, this is the only program in the Midwest offered by a law enforcement agency specifically for the Asian community.

www.BrownIowa.com will be following the citizens attending this eleven week course and sharing what the members of this class learn on a weekly basis.

Cut line for photo: Retired Sgt. Mike Leeper shares the history of the
Des Moines Police Department with citizens in the Asian Citizens Academy.

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