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Applicants sought for Citizens’ Academy

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Participants get inside the look at criminal justice system

Lincoln Parish residents who want to get an inside look at how the local law enforcement and criminal justice system work have until March 3 to register for Citizens’ Academy 2017.

The four-week course is free of charge and open to all parish residents age 18 and over who have no felony convictions. The first 20 applicants who meet the program’s criteria will be accepted.

The Citizens’ Academy is a program of the Lincoln Parish District Attorney’s Office in partnership with the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office.

“What we’re trying to do is inform citizens on law enforcement. We’re just pulling the curtains and showing people what it’s all about,” Sheriff Mike Stone said.

The academy will meet from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday evenings beginning March 28 and ending April 18.

Topics covered include narcotics investigations, economic crimes, crimes against people and property, juvenile crimes and programs, the district judges’ office and the district attorney’s office.

Highlights of the academy include a mock crime scene and a mock trial at the Lincoln Parish Courthouse with academy participants as the jury.

The annual academy began in 2016 and is the fulfillment of one of Belton’s campaign pledges.

He said the goal of the program is to foster a better understanding of law enforcement by offering a behind-the-scenes perspective that demystifies the working of the criminal justice system.

Both Belton and Stone said citizens and law enforcement needs to work to together and have an appreciation of each other.

“One reason it’s so important is to not allow what happened in Ferguson (Missouri), not allow what happened in Dallas to happen here,” Belton said, referring to community protests over police action in the two cities.

“We live in a very, very safe community. (The relationships fostered through the academy) is one more tool to keep it that way,” he said.

Applications for the Citizens Academy can be picked up at the Lincoln Parish Public Safety Complex, located at 161 Road Camp Road or the DA’s office, located on the second floor of the Lincoln Parish Courthouse.

The application will soon be available online at www.lincolnparish.org/DA.
For more information or questions call 251-6451 or email jamescolvin@lincolnparish.org.

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