EAST PIKELAND - East Pikeland Police Department recently gave the public an inside look of the duties the department handles.

The department held its first Citizen's Police Academy on April 13. The event was held at the East Pikeland township building and police station.

Members of the community were able to gain information and see first hand different types of police procedures, through the many demonstrations that ran throughout the day.

Chief James W. Franciscus said he hoped people would gain a better perception of how the police work. 'It gives them an insight as to what police do, why we do what we do, so they have a better understanding,' said Franciscus. 'It's also so that we can communicate with them better, so they can be more helpful to us and have a better understanding for what both sides are doing.'

Franciscus said he thought the day would help build bridges with the community, which is helpful to the department when crimes do occur.

'What we do isn't secret,' he said.'What we're trying to do overall is keep the community safe and ask for cooperation from the public when a crime does occur. When you do have a problem, we're approachable. You can come and let us know if you have information about a crime.'

Members of the community were given a tour of the police station, which included the holding room complete with arm and leg shackles, the questioning room with video surveillance cameras and the evidence room which included various weapons and objects seized from crime scenes.

Some of the demonstrations included showing the public the inside of a police car and how all of the interior equipment operates, such as the radio system, the computer, and the in-car camera. People were also shown the speed timing devices, speed trailers and how police measure speed and do traffic enforcement.

In the garage of the police station, there was a mock crime scene set up, so community members could see how police officers would investigate it. The display included a 'suicide victim' which was dummy lying on the ground with a suicide note in his shirt, bullets on the ground around him, and a fake gun by his side.

Officer Thomas Douglas gave an in depth discussion and Power Point presentation on traffic violations and DUI arrests. He explained the protocol police officers follow to determine when making such arrests. The presentation included screening police car video footage of Officer Thomas pulling over a suspected DUI driver whose car almost ran off the road into a tree, and the sequence of events that led to him arresting the subject on the video, which included simple questioning and administering the Field Sobriety Test.

Franciscus said they plan on making the Citizen's Police Academy an annual event.

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