During the week of April 21, 2012, the 14th Annual National Crime Prevention Association of America (NCPAA) Conference held their annual convention in Decatur, Alabama for law enforcement Citizen’s Academy coordinators. Over eighty federal, state and local agency instructors from around the World attended the event.
The NCPAA was formed to promote the professional development of information, instruction, guidance and assistance to public safety personnel and citizens involved or interested in the Citizen’s Academy concept.
Sergeant Rick Vidiri of the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Unit, coordinator for the Citizen’s Academy in Indian River County, attended the 3-day event which promoted better utilization of Citizen’s Academy classes. Debs Anderson, Citizen’s Academy Assistant, along with Sergeant Vidiri, attended advance training classes during the event and were nationally certified as Citizen’s Academy coordinators. Sergeant Vidiri stated, “Attending this conference enables us to run a much more efficient academy for the citizens of Indian River County, resulting in a more effective program.”
On Wednesday evening April 30th, the NCPAA banquet was held to acknowledge the 2012 National Citizen’s Academy of the Year. The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office Citizen’s Academy program was chosen for the national award for outstanding efforts in conducting a Citizen‘s Academy.
Sergeant Rick Vidiri stated, “Several of the contributing factors to our success are the instructors that present the many facets of the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office. These individuals are not only experts in their field, but extremely passionate about the jobs which they perform. This is evident by the statements of numerous class participants commenting on the enthusiasm of the instructors. The assistance from media outlets in informing citizens of upcoming Citizen’s Academy programs also plays a vital role in our success.”
The objective of the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office Citizen’s Academy is not to train an individual to be a “Reserve Deputy,” but to inform and educate citizens about the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office. The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office instructors and citizens meet for a period of 12-weeks. Tours of the Indian River County Jail, our Special Operations Section (located in a hangar at the Vero Beach Airport) and the Indian River County Courthouse are also included during the 12-week program. Citizen’s Academy programs are held three times a year and generally meet on Wednesday evenings.
In the past, citizens have simply seen a uniform, now they have a better understanding of the person behind the badge and what the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office does for citizens. This also helps to expand community based efforts which assist with opening the lines of communication between citizens and the Sheriff’s Office, resulting in improved crime prevention efforts.