Valuable lessons in city police work

To the editor:

We recently attended six sessions of the Community Police Academy held by Pittsfield Police Dept. experts dealing with the interfacing of police officers with the general public.

The presentations ranged from the organization of the police department to the methodology of crime scene investigation, which was explained and supported by actual evidence samples and fingerprinting techniques. This was followed by an intensive explanation addressing fair and impartial policing methods, including the importance of bias issues. Many examples, such as the limits imposed by commonwealth and federal laws, were discussed.

Included in one of the sessions was the firing of live ammunition at the local target range by participants. We watched a K9 officer and his partner, Nikko, a German Shepherd, demonstrate tracking and locating materials and a suspect by voice commands of the officer. We were exposed to the techniques available to officers during road incidents and OUI traffic stops.

We had opportunities to observe events as presented on TV news as opposed to the reality presented by different camera angles of the scenes — i.e., the complete picture, a real eye opener!

We were exposed to the actions and subsequent reactions of officers. This theme was analyzed in great detail. Consider that officers have a fraction of a second to observe, evaluate and react accordingly.


Another session dealt with hermetically sealed samples of real drugs as they occur on the street as well as gangs and their backgrounds and development. The interactions among various law enforcement agencies while working on a case were also discussed. Each session lasted about three hours and the time flew.

The above descriptions are a small, incomplete sample of the material covered. The presenting officers are obviously proud of their profession and work in a seamless fashion as a team to educate. Thank you to the whole team.

John Berndtson, Herbert West, Pittsfield