The Galveston Police Department, under the direction of Chief Henry Porretto, have started multiple programs to help better serve our community. They are passionate about helping improve our community and resolving any quality of life issues that may arise.

They have an ongoing program that has built a platform for communicating with citizens: Protect With Respect. This award winning community outreach program not only educates but has also opened a dialogue between the police and our diverse island community. National research shows that when citizens have a relationship with the oicers who patrol their neighborhoods, they feel safer, have fewer reservations about calling the police for help and are more likely to take routine safety measures.

galveston citizens police academyOne outreach segment is the Citizens Police Academy. he department’s Special Operations Commander, Sgt. Destin L. Sims, is the Citizens Police Academy coordinator. He presents the 12-week sessions six times a year with class sizes ranging from 25 to as many as 70 in attendance. he courses, taught by law enforcement staf, are scheduled at locations across the island including churches, Synagogues, he 1894 Grand, restaurants and community centers making it easy for all residents to attend. The Citizens Police Academy is about integrating department oicers and area residents in a relationship-building experience. It is an opportunity for the instructors to demonstrate their professional skills, for class members to share their views and a learning experience that connects all participants through respect and trust.

Sgt. Sims and Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association Vice President Linda Strevell just returned from Lexington, Kentucky, where they attended the National Citizens Police Academy Association Conference. The conference seminar leaders conirmed that a Citizens Police Academy is the most progressive means of building community relationships and the times are calling for stronger partnerships between police departments and their residents. What better way to do that than to take the graduates who have joined the alumni associations, who have a calling for volunteerism, and integrate them into the department to fulill meaningful roles that are appropriate for them?

Sgt. Sims has a heart for people, for law enforcement and for the Galveston Police Department where he has spent the last 15 years. It is a natural it. Add to this his natural affinity for people and great personality, and Galveston has a very successful program!

I know quite a few folks who have gone through this program and they all loved it. My neighbors and friends, John and Kim Buton and Linda Strevel, are big supporters and active volunteers and a wonderful resource for our community.

This is a great opportunity to become more involved in your community, network with others throughout the community and ultimately come together in partnership with your police department to improve your community, all at no charge for classes or materials. he 41st CPA class is currently underway and the next class will be scheduled in late summer 2015. For more information, email dsims@cityofgalveston. org. Neighbors helping neighbors is another great reason why those of us lucky enough to live by the sea are lucky enough.