Seniors Police Academy a hit in Miramichi

A Miramichi Police initiative that teaches seniors about law enforcement in their community is a hit.

Program teaches seniors about police work and how they too can keep their community safe

Miramichi Det. Shane Henderson heads up a lesson on forensic interviewing. (CBC)
A Miramichi Police initiative that teaches seniors about law enforcement in their community is a hit.

The Seniors Police Academy teaches the area's elders about policing methods, equipment and threats in their community.

The program, which was introduced last spring, also educates seniors about how they can help keep their neighbourhoods safe.

Students from the second six-week session graduated Wednesday.

At their last lesson, the group learned about forensic interviewing by analyzing statements from real victims and criminals.

At first, the class was created to give seniors something to do, but it quickly turned into a more serious study.

"We have a very active group," said Det. Shane Henderson.

The participants generally show up early for their lessons, he said.

"They're very interested in all the topics that we have, and they're very engaged in every session we offer."

Theresa Doucet was curious about how the police force worked, but by the end of the session, she says she feels better prepared to deal with threats in her own life.

Seniors Police Academy participants studying hard. (Bridget Yard/CBC)
"Things like you know, you don't give out your SIN number or anything, IDs to anybody."

And the knowledge students gain at the program isn't just for their own benefit. Graduates are now the eyes and ears of the police force in their own neighbourhoods.

"That feels great. Finally I can, you know, tell people more or less, if they do something wrong, don't do it, go to the police, don't take the law into your own hands," said Doucet.

The curriculum featured K-9 demonstrations, a look at the Miramichi fleet and a street drug presentation.

For Murray Allan, the course is a welcome departure from semi-retirement as a chartered accountant.

"Oh, it is different. I really enjoyed it. It gave me a greater appreciation for what these guys — men and women — go through and what they work with," said Allan.

Organizers say the only complaint is that the course is too short.

They're already busy getting ready for next spring's session, for which there is already a waiting list.