Tag Archive for CA 14-05

Speedway Citizens Academy Graduation to be Broadcast on Speedway Cable

The graduation ceremony for the 5th Speedway Police Citizens Academy class will be broadcast on Speedway Cable TV at 11:30 AM and 8:00 PM each day from Wednesday, April 23rd – Tuesday April 29th.

Speedway Police Citizens Academy – 2014 Graduation

On Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at Speedway High School, the Speedway Police Department held a graduation ceremony for its 5th Citizens Academy class.

The mission of Citizens Academy is to produce better informed citizens with a deeper understanding of the Speedway Police Department and the role law enforcement plays in the community. The class is an exciting and informative look at the Speedway Police Department. Speedway Police Department officers and staff teach classes on a variety of topics over 12 weeks, commencing with a graduation ceremony.

The newest graduates are now members of the Speedway Police Citizens Academy Alumni association, an active group which provides many opportunities to partner with and assist the Speedway Police Department with their community policing goals, including attendance at civic events, providing support of the Neighborhood Watch program, as well as continuing education classes and other interaction with SPD and the Speedway community.


Presentation of Colors/Pledge of Allegiance

Speedway Police Department Honor Guard


Richard Kassel, SPD Chaplain

Opening Remarks

Lieutenant Trent Theobald

Chief’s Address

Chief James Campbell

Recognition Presentation

Capt. Jason Dierdorff

Presentation of Awards

Departmental Staff


Richard Kassel, SPD Chaplain

Slideshow of Photos

If you’re on an iOS device can cannot see the slideshow,
click here to view all of the photos on Flickr

2014 Speedway Police Citizens Academy Class: Emergency Vehicle Operations (EVO)

The last two weeks of Citizens Academy consisted of a two-part class on Emergency Vehicle Operations. During the classroom portion, Sgt. Mirantha Wilson and Lt. Sam Alexander taught students about various aspects of traffic stops, including standard procedures and laws. They showed students several videos of scenarios involving traffic stops and problems that can be encountered and encouraged discussion about what students encountered during their ride-alongs.

Speedway Police: Lt. Sam Alexander and Sgt. Mirantha Wilson - Emergency Vehicle Operations class

The second part of the class was held the following week at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield. Students were divided into three groups, and each group had a chance to learn more about traffic stops and conduct a mock traffic stop; take a ride on the outside course, simulating a high-speed pursuit; and also to drive on the inside road course.

Speedway Police Chief Jim CampbellChief Campbell talks to students prior to EVO class

Speedway Police Citizens Academy Class: EVOStudents drove on the Emergency Vehicle Operator course

Speedway Police Citizens Academy Class: EVO

Speedway Police Citizens Academy Class: EVOStudents also conducted mock traffic stops

Below is a video compilation of the students driving on the road course, as well as of the simulated high-speed pursuit (also a POV video, which is a bit bumpy-but not bad since it was hand held!)

This week, students will graduate the Speedway Police Citizens Academy with a ceremony at Speedway High School and have the option to participate in the Alumni Association, where they will have the opportunity for continuing education classes, and various volunteer events with the Speedway Police Department and Neighborhood Watch program.

2014 Speedway Police Citizens Academy Update: Chaplain / Gangs & Drugs

With last week’s class, Citizens Academy students have only three classes remaining, then they will graduate and become a part of the Speedway Police Department family, along with the Speedway Police Citizens Academy Alumni Association. Time has certainly flown by, and these enthusiastic students have been certainly enjoying the class. We hope you are enjoying their progress and will consider joining us too!

This week’s class covered three topics: Police Chaplains; Gangs; and Drugs.

The first topic this week was taught by Police Chaplain Rick Kassel, who discussed the duties of a police chaplain with students. Chaplain Kassel is one of three Chaplains on staff at the Speedway Police Department, as well as IMPD. The other two Chaplains on staff at both IMPD and SPD are Holly Hardsaw (Pastor of Speedway United Methodist Church) and Ralph Lemmon. Soon, SPD will have an additional Chaplain: Bob Hills, of the IndyCar Ministry is a fulltime Director and Chaplain to IndyCar. More information on Chaplain Hills can be found at this link.

Speedway Police Department Chaplain Rick Kassel

Chaplains are on call 24-7, 365 days of the year for a variety of functions. They can be called by dispatch at the request of responding officers or lead detective to a crime scene to assist victims of crime, or in the case of death (natural, accidental, suicide, homicide, etc.) to notify or assist families or friends in whatever way they need. They can also provide support to witnesses of traumatic events, accidents, crimes, etc.

They also provide professional or personal counseling to SPD and their families, provide assistance and support to those who are sick or injured, or have a death in the family, and can attend funerals.

Chaplains perform other duties such as speaking and offering prayers at official SPD events, attend dinners, or other special events, and also officiate weddings.

Chaplain Kassel also provided Citizens Academy students with his contact information, letting them know that as part of the SPD family, they are also welcome to contact him if ever needed.

The next two topics, Gangs and Drugs were taught by Det. Chris Ristuccia, assisted by SPD Reserve Joe Killion.
Det. Chris Ristuccia teaches Citizens Academy Class on Gangs & Drugs
Det. Ristuccia explained to students more information about gangs, starting with the general characteristics of gangs, and that by definition, a gang is not illegal – any group of more than a few people is considered a “gang” and can be for a variety of purposes, social, work, hobby, etc. The common understanding and reference to a gang, however, is one that engages in illegal activity. He explained about the history of many of the larger, more well-known national gangs as well as smaller, local gangs.

He also explained how to identify possible affiliation of kids/teens into a gang, including loss of interest in school, poor grades, different set of friends, large amounts of unsupervised time, and changes in personality.

Det. Ristuccia explained that Speedway does not have any gangs, despite being surrounded by them in Indianapolis. He credits residents for being watchful for early indicators of gang activity, particularly graffiti and minor property damage. He stressed that it is important for residents to call in and report any graffiti they find so it can be documented and identified. After police have documented the graffiti, it can be covered up – and quick action sends a message that such activity is being noticed, and that residents care about their neighborhoods and will call the police! He also indicated that SPD works very closely with the schools and teachers for any suspected activity and quickly stop any gangs.

The last topic was about drugs and narcotics. Many types of drugs were discussed, including prescription drugs, inhalants, illegal (street) drugs, as well as their effects, popularity, and laws and regulations.

STAY TUNED: Coming up this Wednesday, students will be in the classroom for the first of the two-part class on EVO (Emergency Vehicle Operations). Next week will be the EVO practical class, held at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield, where students will have a chance to experience the high speeds of a police chase as they ride-along with an officer on the course. Students will also have the chance to get behind the wheel of a police car on the inside obstacle course!

We’ll be there and will video the action!

2014 Speedway Police Citizens Academy Update: Criminal Investigations

On March 12th, Lt. Trent Theobald introduced Jim Thiele and Kyle Hodges, who taught the first part of two Criminal Investigations classes. The second part, held the following week, was the practical class where students learned fingerprinting techniques and investigated a mock crime scene.

Speedway Police Citizens Academy - Criminal InvestigationsJim Thiele

Det. Thiele discussed the Speedway Police Department Investigations Division, which is comprised of the following Investigators:  Lt. Theobald, Jim Thiele, Kyle Hodges, Chris Ristuccia, and Lauren Roemke. He explained the details of the job of investigator, the types of cases they investigate, and the tools they use (car, computer, phone, crime lab, etc.). He explained that an investigator is someone who gathers, documents, and evaluates evidence and that the investigative process has the following objectives:

  • Establish that a crime was actually committed
  • Identify and apprehend the suspect(s)
  • Recover stolen property
  • Assist in prosecution of the person(s) charged with the crime

Detectives take turns being on call, and one investigator or another is on call at all times of the day or night to respond to major felony calls or other calls requiring a detective. The types of cases they investigate include theft (from vehicles or stores), financial crimes such as check or credit card fraud, or scams, burglary, robbery, and death investigations, including DOA, suicide, accidental death, and homicide.

Det. Kyle Hodges spoke next about the investigation of a crime scene and the process an investigator follows, starting with the initial response to the crime scene by patrol officers, as well as assessing and securing the crime scene. The investigator needs to evaluate the crime scene boundaries, assess the safety of the scene and whether there are any hazards such as a drug lab, chemical spill, chemicals, weapons. It is a priority to ensure the safety of any bystanders.

Speedway Police Citizens Academy - Criminal InvestigationsKyle Hodges

The investigator needs to determine if any additional resources are needed (another officer or detective, equipment, medical or fire personnel, etc.). They process the crime scene for physical evidence, weapons, blood evidence, mud & grass, handwriting samples, photograph and video the crime scene, and prepare documentation and evidence for packaging. They also need to separate and interview witnesses, and if needed, provide assistance for victims and their families.

The following week, in the second part of Criminal Investigations class, Speedway Police Citizens Academy students had a chance to practice many of the things they learned about investigating a crime scene, including marking & collecting evidence, photographing a crime scene, and many of the other steps that investigators and first responders take regarding crime scenes. They also learned about fingerprinting, as they dusted and collected fingerprints from various items as well as learned how fingerprints are taken on a person for background checks and firearm permits.
Investigators from Speedway Police Department teaching this week’s class were Chris Ristuccia, Jim Thiele, Kyle Hodges, and Lauren Roemke.

Speedway Police Citizens Academy - Criminal InvestigationMock crime scene

Speedway Police Citizens Academy - Criminal InvestigationFingerprinting techniques

2014 Speedway Police Citizens Academy Class Update: SWAT / K9

Wednesday marked the halfway point for the current Speedway Police Citizens Academy class. For the first part of tonight’s class, students learned about the Speedway Police Department SWAT team from several members, including Sgt. Robert Dine, Det. Chris Ristuccia, Officer Matt Dahlke, Sgt. Mike Hart, Officer Nathan Shipley, Officer Ben Rupenthal, and Officer Pat Hammel. Speedway Police Citizens AcademyThe SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team is trained to perform high-risk operations that fall outside the abilities of regular officers. Duties include hostage rescues, counter terrorism operations, serving high risk arrest and search warrants, subduing barricaded subjects, and engaging in heavily armed criminals.

They discussed the requirements and process that officers must go through to become eligible to be on the SWAT team, as well as the continuing training sessions they take part in, including firearms, building entries & searches, active shooter, and officer down rescue.

They displayed many of the specialized equipment used by the team, including firearms, submachine guns and assault rifles, stun grenades and riot control agents as well as body armor, ballistic shields, entry tools, optics, etc.
Speedway Police Citizens Academy
They discussed with students how they assess various situations and intel regarding the physical environment, people involved, etc. to determine how to best respond to and resolve an active situation.
Speedway Police Citizens Academy
During the next part of the class, Officer Mat Turpin taught students about the police department’s K-9 Unit. He started with a history of work dogs, focusing on law enforcement, detailing which breeds are typically utilized, including German shepherd, Belgian malinois, Dutch Labrador, Blood hound and Collies. Each breed is used for various purposes depending upon the dog’s characteristics. Strong positive characteristics are ball drive, hunt drive, prey drive and food. Negative characteristics are environmental (dogs that don’t like to be in certain situations or even like certain texture floors, etc.), too social, lacking in drive, or sound issues (dogs must be able to deal with gunfire).

Speedway Police Citizens AcademyMost law enforcement dogs are purchased from European breeders, whose dogs from have good characteristics. Law enforcement training is done in the US, and the handler and the K9 go through various levels of training, depending upon the intended purpose – patrol school is 8 weeks, narcotics school is 2 weeks, etc. K9s can be multipurpose, dual, or single purpose. Various law enforcement purposes for K9s include:

  • Patrol
  • Narcotics
  • Explosives
  • Cadaver
  • Money

Officer Turpin then brought in K9 Officer Tom to meet the class, but he was far more interested in chewing on his plastic toy ball than he was with us!

Next week, Citizens Academy students will be learning about crime scene investigations and the following week will have a chance to try out their new skills in a simulated crime scene! Stay tuned!!

Slideshow of all photos from the Speedway Citizens Academy class: SWAT / K9

(Click the hyperlink if you cannot view the slideshow)

2014 Speedway Police Citizens Academy Update: Students Tour Police Department

On Wednesday, February 26, 2014, Speedway Police Citizens Academy students were out of the classroom as they visited the Speedway Police Department for a tour, a polygraph demo, and to use the firing range for their Firearms II practical class.

Lt. Trent Theobald of the Investigations Division gave students a demonstration on the Police Department’s computerized polygraph equipment. He explained that polygraph testing is typically done on potential new hires at the department as well as criminal investigations. Also on display for students was some older equipment.

Speedway Police Department Citizens Academy

Speedway Police Department Citizens Academy

For the Firearms II practical class portion of the evening, students were brought to the police department’s firing range. Below, Officer Chuck Ezell talks to students about SPD’s firing range, storage / gun cleaning area. The firing range can simulate various lighting conditions, including complete darkness, using flashlights, porchlight, even with flashing red/blue lights from the officers’ patrol car.

Speedway Police Department Citizens Academy

Officer Ezell assists students at the firing range.

Speedway Police Department Citizens Academy

Sgt. Rod Ferguson explains to a citizens academy student about the range, and the Glock pistol used by SPD officers.

Speedway Police Department Citizens Academy

Below are two videos of students trying out the Glock and the Bushmaster AR-15:

Slideshow of all photos from tonight’s class.

Next week, Citizens Academy students will be back in the classroom to learn about SPD’s SWAT unit, as well K9, with a demo from K9 Officer Tom and his partner, Officer Mat Turpin.

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2014 Speedway Police Citizens Academy Update: Classes 2 & 3

On February 12th, after the 2nd class was cancelled due to a snowstorm, Citizens Academy students were back in the classroom. The first presentation of the evening was the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, ranging from building a case, evidence, criminal law, and all aspects of trial procedures.

The next portion of the class was on DUI, which students learned is properly referred to as OVWI, or Operating Vehicle While Intoxicated. Speedway Police Officer Mike Clupper explained various aspects of his duties with Citizens Academy students, ranging from identifying behaviors, physical signs of intoxication, as well as law and prosecution.

Speedway Police Citizens Academy ClassOfficer Mike Clupper

Last but not least, Officer Mat Turpin, who is also Speedway Police Department’s K-9 handler, shared with students what to expect during their upcoming ride alongs. Each Citizens Academy student will have the opportunity to have a 4 hour ride along with a Speedway Police Officer, and can choose day, middle, or late shift. He discussed the police officer’s “office”, aka their patrol car, expected behavior of the students, what they could possibly expect, etc.

Speedway Police Citizens Academy

Officer Mat Turpin

This week’s Citizens Academy class was Firearms I, and was taught by Lt. Dan Eacret, Sgt. Rod Ferguson, and Officer Chuck Ezell. They presented students with a history of the firearms that have been used by the Speedway Police Department, and displayed a sampling of the current firearms used by officers today. They explained about the history and mechanics of each firearm, as well as which scenarios each firearm might be utilized. They also explained to students the training process officers must take at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA), as well as the various classifications of achievement, whether qualifying (80%), marksman (85%), sharpshooter (90%), or expert (95%). They also explained about the training they receive to become firearms instructors.

Speedway Police Department Citizens AcademyLt. Dan Eacret

Speedway Police Department Citizens AcademyOfficer Chuck Ezell

Speedway Police Department Citizens AcademySgt. Rod Ferguson

Citizens Academy students also learned about the continuing firearms training that Speedway Police officers receive, including various scenarios, locations, lighting conditions, and moving targets, etc.

Next week, students who choose to do so, will have an opportunity to use the various firearms at the Speedway Police Department’s firing range. We hope you continue to follow along with the progress of the class!

Speedway Police Department begins 5th Citizens Academy Class

Tonight marked the start of the Speedway Police Department’s 5th Citizens Academy Class. An enthusiastic group comprised of Speedway residents and others affiliated with the town (through employment or through social, religious, or civic groups) began their exciting 12-week journey of a behind the scenes look at the Speedway Police Department.

New class members were greeted by Citizens Academy Alumni, who meet regularly and  support SPD in a variety of ways. After all students were checked in, SPD Administrative Coordinator Sarah Edie welcomed the students and introduced them to all of the alumni present, as well as Speedway Police Officers Morgan and Harmon, Capt. Jason Dierdorff, and Chief Jim Campbell, and Jim Ochs of the Police Commission. Last but not least, Sarah introduced Chaplain Rick Kassel, who led the group in a prayer.

The class’ first presentation was on the History of Policing and Speedway Police Department, taught by Chief Campbell. Students will have many exciting weeks of classes ahead, learning a variety of subjects including K-9, gangs & narcotics, firearms, crime scene investigations, even going on a ride-along and driving a police car at the law enforcement academy.

Welcome everyone and we know this is going to be an experience you’ll enjoy!

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