Weatherford Star-Telegram

Residents in this Texas town can back the Blue ... and join them in Citizens Academy

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By most standards, Willow Park is still considered a small town. But the little community west of Fort Worth and east of Weatherford continues to grow, as evidenced by its new addition.

The city is set to start a new Citizens Academy on March 21. The academy is a 10-week program designed to open the lines of communication between the Willow Park Police Department and the community.

“The Citizens Police Academy was a pillar of my previous agency’s commitment to community policing,” Willow Park Police Chief Carrie West said. “I brought that philosophy to Willow Park, and believe that the CPA is a bridge between the police department and the community we serve.”

West came to Willow Park in 2017 after more than 21 years of service with the City of Corinth.

The process of creating a sound academy requires an informed citizenry, and city officials say it is the goal of the Citizens Police Academy to increase understanding through education. And with over 5,500 residents now, Willow Park is the second-largest city that is completely in Parker County (Azle has over 12,000 but shares its boundaries with Tarrant County).

Weatherford, the largest city in Parker County with just almost 31,000 population, and Springtown (almost 3,000) already have citizens police academies.

“I think it’s a very timely project for Chief West and our police department to start in our city,” Willow Park Mayor Doyle Moss said. “Trust and respect for our law enforcement is paramount, I believe, and this program will certainly improve on both of those topics.

“Our city is growing, and projects such as these will help with our growth and ensure the communication between citizens and PD remain positive and open.”

Anyone 18 years of age or older who resides or works in east Parker County area can apply to join the new Willow Park academy. A background check, which includes a check of arrest and driving records, will be conducted.

“Many are curious about what it is we do on a daily basis or how we work a case, etc.,” West said. “This program provides an inside look into police work and the human side of our profession.”

While the first class is limited to 20 participants, West said there will be subsequent classes on the horizon.

As for those who graduate the class, West said, “While they will have no official duties after the class, we hope to retain them as members of our Blue family and advocates for our profession.”

For more information, contact the Police Department during regular business hours Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., or email Captain Daniel Franklin at dfranklin@willowpark.org, or call 817-441-9747.

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