WPD hosts Citizens Academy at the CAL
WORTHINGTON — The Worthington Police Department’s Citizens Academy program began Wednesday morning at the Center for Active Living and will be offered there every Wednesday through June 18.
The Citizens Academy program covers a variety of law enforcement related topics and gives people a chance to see what goes on in the Worthington Police Department.
“Most people never really have any contact with the police department other than seeing officers on patrol or (watching) crime shows, so this gives people a chance to see what goes on,” said Worthington Public Safety Director Mike Cumiskey.
Each Wednesday, different members from the law enforcement center will educate seniors about what their specific departments do.
Attendees will learn about the court systems from Judge Jeffrey Flynn; traffic laws with Sgt. Brett Wiltrout; Use of Force with Detective Dave Hoffman and Sgt. Tim Gaul (during which participants will actually go to the gun range); and narcotics investigations with the Buffalo Ridge Task Force.
Cumiskey kicked off the Academy program Wednesday by educating seniors about Worthington’s crime statistics, comparing Worthington’s crime rate to previous years.
Cumiskey informed attendees that the 2013 statistics show that the city’s crime rate is at its lowest since 1989, with 4,160 crimes per 100,000.
“The data is recorded on a ratio,” Cumiskey said. “Basically, if Worthington had 100,000 (residents), that’s how many incidents the city would have,” Cumiskey said.
Cumiskey also broke down the crime statistics into “part-one” and “part-two” offenses to show that Worthington has a very low “part-one” statistic.
“Part-one offenses are felony-level offenses such as murder, rape and aggravated assault, while part-two offenses are the less serious crimes — misdemeanor offenses,” he said.
Cumiskey stunned the group by saying that Worthington has only had four murders in the city’s entire existence.
“The good news about part-one offenses — if there is any good news — is that they happen less frequently,” he said.
Cumiskey again attributed the lower crime rate to Worthington police officers and the Nobles County Sheriff’s Office being diligent and persevering, as well as the creation of the Buffalo Ridge Task Force.
Detective Sgt. Kevin Flynn, who created the Citizens Academy Program in 1999, stated that the low crime rates are also due to citizens calling the police department and making a difference.
“We don’t get anything done without people calling in and reporting it,” Flynn said. “Whether it’s because they see something suspicious and want us to check it out or an actual incident … it’s about making a difference in the community and caring about where we live,” he added.
The Citizens Academy program will continue on May 21 with Judge Jeffrey Flynn speaking on the court system.
The free program is from 10 to 11 a.m. each Wednesday at the Center for Active Living, 211 11th St.
Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.