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Martinsburg police offering public a look

July 20, 1997

By DAVE McMILLION

Staff Writer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. The Martinsburg Police Department is giving the community an inside look at Berkeley County's criminal justice system through a citizen academy at the police department through Sept 4.

The police department is conducting the nine-week course so the community will have a greater awareness and understanding of the law enforcement's role in the community, according to the department.

George Swartwood, a detective, said people generally have a good understanding of what the police department can and cannot do. But people in the academy, which started July 10, are still learning new information about how police work in the community.

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"It will separate myth from fact. I think it will be very enlightening to people who attend it," said Swartwood.

The academy, which is free and held every Thursday night at the police station on North Queen Street, will cover a number of issues including criminal investigations and law, search and seizure, communications, drug enforcement and education, drunk driving and traffic law and use of force policies, police said.

Organizers are also planning a mock criminal trial and a tour of the Eastern Regional Jail near Martinsburg, Swartwood said.

Speakers during the academy are expected to include Police Chief Wayne Cleveland, Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Games-Neely, Swartwood and other police officers.

Students in the first class were members of the Chief's Advisory Committee. The academy is open to anyone who is at least 18-years-old and either work or reside in Martinsburg. Anyone interested in attending the academy must obtain an application from the police department.

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