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Citizenship Requires Responsibility
04-27-2017
Posted by: Kimberly Kratz

What’s the definition of citizenship? And how does our response to this question affect lives of the people who live and work here?

 

Citizenship: (noun) the quality of an individual's response to membership in a community.

 

Quakertown Borough Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy offers the opportunity for local adults to engage in that response. The program helps citizens gain a working knowledge of the department by highlighting various aspects of and issues that affect law enforcement.

 

Implemented locally by Officer Steven Stoneback and taught by ten of its officers who devote time in their area of expertise, nearly all of the department’s nineteen members help to support the program. Since its inception, 70 local citizens have graduated the academy’s series of classroom instruction and practical field exercises. The hope is that graduates will improve relationships between other Quakertown citizens and the QPD by helping to identify problems and to offer solutions to crimes that affect our community.

 

The QPD’s response to the heroin epidemic provides example. It requires additional police hours for criminal investigations into drug dealing and thefts, court appearances, and response time for overdose victims. Sgt. Joshua Mallery said that while Bucks County assists in funding overtime hours and controlled buys, the department also needs the help of its citizens (including addicts) to rout out drug dealers.

 

Officer Paul Houseknecht and partner K-9 Fury work drug investigations. All responding officers carry Narcan, an overdose reversing drug. Talking with overdose victims to help them see the effect heroin use has on them and their families, looking for their cooperation in investigations, and educating its citizens are also important pieces of the QPD solution.

 

How can citizens help?

 

The Citizens Police Academy gives participants a better sense of policing and officers gain a positive perspective. The newly formed Police Auxiliary Partnership spin off program includes about 30 volunteers— “graduates who still have an interest and continue to work hand-in-hand with the police department,” Detective Lieutenant Donald Bender said. 

 

“This program really opens your eyes to how amazing the people in this community really are,” Officer Stoneback said.