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Golden Valley Police Department Works to Educate Public

The Wirth Park homicide will be one of the many topics during the citizens’ academy.

Beginning Tuesday Jan. 29, for the third year, the Golden Valley Police Department will open its doors to the public during the first series of the Golden Valley Citizens’ Police Academy.

For the next seven weeks, 20 residents will gather at the station for three hours every Tuesday. The group will learn about a wide variety of police functions and listen to special presentations from some of the department’s own officers and employees.

New this year, Crime Analyst Joanne Paul and Sgt. Dennis Aarons will present the anatomy of the Wirth Park homicide, a session that Paul thinks will be popular.

“We will walk them through everything we went through,” Paul said.  “We want to offer the residents kind of an inside look at how the police department functions, and let them see stuff that they don’t usually get to see.”

Presentations topics include the Hennepin County Crime Lab, the NW Metro Drug Task Force and the Hennepin County Canine Unit. Residents will get to meet police dogs, talk to 911 dispatchers and see the shooting range, among other things.

“We hope that they take away a better understanding of how the police department works,” Paul said. “We also want them to learn how they can help us. We really rely on our residents to help us.”

Paul said that the series of classes draws everyone from young moms and dads to retired police officers. Last year, a retired FBI agent attended the sessions, just to learn more about how local law enforcement functions.

“We want it to be fun and enjoyable and at the same time we want the residents to learn a lot,” Paul said. “And we want residents to get to know us, too.”

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