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Community Patrol

Citizen’s Police Academy educates and builds connections.

By Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

The mock scenario had criminology major Fern Eamsaard and another student reporting to an alleged domestic abuse situation. Their job was to figure out what was happening and whether a law was being broken, all while looking out for weapons and remaining safe.

The exercise, part of NC State’s Citizen’s Police Academy, was eye-opening for Eamsaard, a junior from Hope Mills, N.C. “It’s a lot of responsibility,” she says. And, by the end of the eight-session program, she’d made a decision — she hopes to launch her law enforcement career at NC State’s police department. “They get to respond to so many calls on a daily basis,” she says. “I feel like that would be a really good experience.”

NC State’s police department investigates and makes arrests like any municipal police department, but part of its mission is to teach. Educating students — often criminology and forensics majors — as well as faculty and staff about the department’s operations is the academy’s primary goal.

“We want to be transparent,” says Sgt. Carl D’Agostino, community engagement supervisor. Academy participants take part in simulated traffic stops, mock crime scene and domestic violence investigations, and take a trip to the shooting range to fire weapons with certified instructors.

Long after each session ends, the connections remain. D’Agostino often runs into participants across campus and has served as a job reference for some. “It just builds really good community relations,” he says. 

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