Organziers said 39 participants are registered for the first time Citizens' Police Academy to be hosted by St. Louis County Police West County Precinct officers, in partnership with Islamic Foundation members, at the Manchester-based Daar-ul-Islam Mosque, 517 Weidman Rd.
The eight classes, available to all mosque members, will be held from 6-8 p.m., beginning Wednesday. Participants will graduate Jan. 16.
St. Louis County Chief of Police Timothy Fitch stated in a Tuesday media release he believed the Citizens Police Academy creates the perfect opportunity for West St. Louis County residents to get acquainted with the officers who serve and protect the community. "Participants learn about what steps they can take to avoid becoming the victim of a crime and they get an inside look at how the County Police Department operates," Fitch stated.
"Instead of relying on television or Hollywood, graduates of these academies can gain personal knowledge and experience in how actual police officers patrol their beats, conduct traffic stops and investigate crime."
Classes will be instructed by law enforcement professionals in various fields.
Adil Imdad, outreach and community relations program coordinator for the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis and chairman of social services for the foundation, previously told Patch there are many Muslim immigrants in the St. Louis area who are not familiar with local law enforcement and how it works. Imdad said the police academy course is available to all area Muslims, not just members of the mosque.
Imdad estimated the Muslim residents from the following St. Louis sectors to be:
- St. Louis City: approximately 25,000
- West St. Louis County: approximately 15,000
- South County: approximately 15,000
- North County: approximately 10,000
This academy is free of charge, but advanced registration is required; contact Imdad at 314–324-3400 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or police officer Dusty Poncin at 314-615-0715 or email@example.com.