Newark academy seeks to build community trust, offer inside look at public safety

By Noah Cohen | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on June 03, 2016

Participants in the Newark Public Safety Department's Citizen/Clergy Academy graduated from the program May 31, 2016

 

NEWARK — The Newark Public Safety Department this week graduated its first class of the Citizen/Clergy Academy, a program designed to give participants an understanding of the work of first responders and build bonds with the community.

The 9-week academy offered about 100 participants courses that focused on each division of the city's public safety agency, including lessons on firefighting, fire safety, arson investigations, police deployments, officer training and how the city prepares for major emergencies, according to officials.

"The academy creates partnerships with our residents, clergy members and business owners and helps our combined efforts to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in our city," Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose said in a statement.

The program is the first of other planned public safety-focused academies to cultivate ties between responders and residents, Ambrose added.

Participants in the Citizen/Clergy Academy were also trained on crime prevention, gang awareness and experienced simulated split-second "shoot, don't shoot," decisions police officers face through the virtual Firearm Training System.

"One of the most important ways to build trust between the community and Newark's Public Safety operations is to enable residents, clergy and community leaders to understand how the police and fire departments function," Mayor Ras Baraka said in a statement. "The Citizen/Clergy Academy accomplishes just that."

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