Speedway PD Starts Its 7th Citizens Academy

Over the next 10 weeks, we will be presenting a series of blog posts relating the experiences of several current students attending the 7th Speedway Police Citizens Academy.

We hope you enjoy reading about their experiences and will consider joining a future class. Applications are accepted year round, on a first come basis. Click here for more information and an application.

August 31, 2016: Class 1 – History Of Policing / History of Speedway Police Department

Submitted by Diana Miller

Students of the 7th Speedway Police Department Citizens Academy attended their first class on Wednesday, August 31, 2016. We share our thanks to Lt. Trent Theobald, Sarah Edie, Chief Jim Campbell, and Assistant Chief Upchurch for taking their time to attend and share information regarding their positions.

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SPD Chief Jim Campbell Welcomes the 7th Citizens Academy Class

We learned about the history of policing going back to the Roman empire as well as the history of the Town of Speedway beginning in 1926 with 500 residents. We were proud to hear of our Speedway Police Department receiving CALEA Accreditation, of which only 11% of police departments in the United States are approved. What an honor for our SPD! We also learned how updated technology has enabled our officers in their daily duties, that a citizen’s arrest is legal only for a felon, not a misdemeanor, and how important it is that the residents of Speedway work with our officers for community policing each and every day.

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SPD Assistant Chief Chuck Upchurch

We are looking forward to our future classes with their wide range of topics from gangs and drugs to SWAT and K9 in order for us to graduate this class and become VIPs (Volunteers in Policing). Again, we thank Chief Campbell for initiating these programs.

September 7, 2016: Class 2 – Gangs / Narcotics

Submitted by Diana Miller

Lt. Theobald once again opened last evening’s class with entertaining stories as he distributed the syllabus and ride-along sign up sheet. The class enthusiastically responded to the upcoming classes and opportunity to ride with an SPD officer.

Commissioner Phill Smith was in attendance, and provided a brief synopsis of his career and current position, including some interesting facts throughout the different positions he held.

Detective Chris Ristuccia kept the attention of the class for 2-1/2 hours with his informative presentations regarding gang and drug awareness in Speedway.  We are proud to say that Speedway does not have any gangs established due to the hard work and sacrifice of our officers.IMG_6078

Det. Ristuccia discussed the history of gangs, the reasons young people join them (to feel like they belong to something or someone for love and money, etc.), the types of membership and stages of gang membership and activity, ranging from low level misdemeanors to violent crimes. We learned the names of different gangs, their colors, and the meaning of their signs/graffiti.  The class was amazed at the overwhelming number of gangs & members in Indianapolis – 398 active gangs with over 2700 members.

Det. Ristuccia also presented, in detail, the horrific problem heroin is currently causing.  We learned heroin is now being distributed at college parties in the form of a pill (light blue) without the kids knowing it’s heroin, causing them to become addicted, ruining their lives, along with their families lives, searching for that “high” feeling that never is achieved.  It’s a desperate time calling for desperate measures to curtail this activity. Heroin is “everybody’s” drug – there is no status, all the way from the homeless to high-level professionals.

Det. Ristuccia also shared the steps which occur during a narcotics investigation and our officers’ concern in persuading kids to make better life choices. We also learned about other numerous types of drugs and the harm they do, from marijuana and inhalers to meth and cocaine.  There currently are 22.5 MILLION drug users from the age of 12 and older. It’s astounding to hear these statics, but we are so proud of our Speedway Police Department working diligently each and every day to keep our city free from gangs and heavy drug use.

The class is grateful to Detective Ristuccia for his time in presenting these topics to us.

STAY TUNED: The next two classes will be on EVO – Emergency Vehicle Operations; students will have class time learning about various aspects of operating a police vehicle and traffic stops, then will take that knowledge out to the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy where they will drive a police car on a road course and conduct mock traffic stops.

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