ITHACA, N.Y. — The first day of the Ithaca Police Department’s Citizen’s Police Academy kicked off Wednesday night with 16 people in attendance.

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It’s the second academy class in two years and is meant to expose the general public to the inner-workings of the police department, officials said. For the next several weeks, officers will teach attendees about various aspects of policing, including bicycle patrol, SWAT  team operations, evidence seizures and negotiations, among others.

The first day consisted of a tour of the Ithaca police station, a presentation by the Tompkins County Department of Emergency Response and a demonstration involving the K9 unit.

The Voice intends to continue providing coverage from the classes in the coming weeks. The following are 12 quick, fun facts from Day 1:

1) Two weekends ago, IPD had six people in custody at the same time. That’s the most one officer can remember being in custody in at least the past eight years.

2) A cell where an inmate urinated in and spread feces on is still not being used to hold inmates.

3) A police officer’s utility belt weighs about 30 pounds.

4) IPD currently has around 60 officers, leaving them about a dozen officers understaffed to cover three shifts a day, all year.

5) Ever got to lock up? If you do, you will definitely get restrained in the “bullring” while paperwork is being filled out. It’s the department policy to do so and meant to ensure the safety of the officer.

6) Tompkins County  911 dispatchers serve eight police agencies, all fire departments and all ambulance companies aside from Bangs Ambulance.

7) Over 80,000 calls were reported last year including:

  •      41,096 Law Enforcement Incidents
  •      15,156 Medical Incidents
  •      10,019 Fire/Rescue Incidents
  •       14,691 Informational/Referrals
  •      6,686 “False” Calls to 9-1-1 (such at pocket dials, children playing with the phone and misdials)

8) By 2017, officials hope to make texting 911 an option for residents.

9) Officer Pat Kimmich refers to himself as “Dad” when talking about himself and his K9 partner Bert.

10) Number of times Bert had bitten a suspect: Zero. But people have peacefully turned themselves over to officers after being told K9 Bert would be released otherwise, Kimmich said.

11) K9 Bert, age 3,  lives with officer Kimich and after becoming eligible for retirement — at seven or eight years old — will continue to live with his partner.

12) The officer in the image below, Officer Brandon Goldsberry, who was “attacked” by K9 Bert seconds after the photo below was taken, has to undergo training in order to stand-in during demonstrations. Kimmich and Bert underwent a 16-week training to become certified and take at least two training classes every month.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.