An introduction to Westfield Police Dept. Citizen’s Academy: An 11-week class to learn about police officer duties


Commentary by Anna Skinner

Lt. Mike Seagrave presents during the first class for the eighth Westfield Police Dept. Citizen’s Academy. (Photo by Anna Skinner)

Being the editor of our local newspaper, I strive to invest myself in the community I cover. Applying and being accepted into the local Westfield Police Dept. Citizen’s Academy was important to me, and readers will follow along with my progress through the class with this weekly column.

I joined 19 other individuals as a participant of the eighth session of the academy, which began Aug. 10. Participants must live or work in Westfield to apply. According to Lt. Mike Seagrave, who coordinates the class, nearly twice that number applied. Class will meet once a week  through October.

Throughout the 11-week course, I will experience firsthand what the police officer job entails. I will learn about the people behind the badge serving Westfield. I will undergo classes regarding the patrol division and the criminal investigation division. I will participate in firearms classes, active shooter classes and even a Tasing demonstration. I will report on what I experience and publish it weekly in Current in Westfield to better educate residents on what duties police officers are responsible for.

According to Seagrave, the class originally launched to better connect the community to the police department and allow citizens to understand the job. Instructors are not training us to become police officers but opening our eyes to some of the duties the job entails. Police officers aren’t just cops, Seagrave said. They’re mothers, fathers, friends, husbands and wives. They’re active in the community they serve, and they are more than their badge number.

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