Law enforcement requires continuous training. It is physically dangerous and emotionally taxing and is subject to political pressure. Evanston Police Department (EPD) created the Citizen Police Academy, allowing Evanston residents to gain perspective regarding its police force’s role and its interactions with those it serves and protects.
We were motivated to join the Academy by national conversations generated by racial discrimination in law enforcement and calls to defund the police.
Each of the 10 presentations featured specific topics, such as domestic violence, gangs, juvenile investigations, and traffic, followed by no-holds-barred question-and-answer sessions facilitated by two police officers.
The program leaders, Officers Enjoli Daley and Tosha Wilson, and the presenters responded with openness, knowledge, enthusiasm, and humor. Our exchanges were frank, honest, and most importantly, civil.
The Academy revealed our shared humanity. EPD Chief Demitrous Cook refers to policing in Evanston as a “partnership.” In this spirit, our class will remain engaged and become new members of the Evanston Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association.
We plan to explore using the Academy curriculum as the basis for a civics class at Evanston Township High School.
As we converge and converse civilly, we encourage productive interaction in our community and beyond.
Svetlana Bekman, David Olson, Shirley Johnson, Carolyn Grieve, Paul Gillen, Kellie Forrester and Kathy Hayes – Class 52 of EPD’s Citizen Police Academy