When Officer Kayla Carney approaches the Frisco Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy, she thinks about what the community would want to know.
She looks at what community members might care about based on both local and national matters, she said. Now, the department’s latest Citizens Police Academy curriculum includes a class on the use of force.
“Use of force is a hot topic right now in law enforcement, and I think that’s something that needs to be talked about, even if it’s a hard conversation for some,” Carney said.
The academy, which meets on Thursday nights over about 13 weeks, allows people who work, live and study in Frisco to get a closer look at the department, including its staff, equipment and procedures. That includes learning about crime scene processing, traffic stops and now, the use of force.
Carney said the use-of-force class involves an educational component and an open dialogue. Students will learn about general orders and policy as well as training points. The class also involves watching videos that show scenarios of both justified and unjustified uses of force by police.
“We look at that, and we have an open discussion, and it’s pretty cool because you see various points of view from people,” Carney said.
The academy also involves a Saturday class where students interact with SWAT personnel and negotiators. That session now also includes a station for use-of-force scenarios based on the class, giving students a more hands-on perspective, Carney said.
The addition comes after a summer of protests swept across the nation--including in Frisco--in response to the murder of George Floyd in 2020.
Carney said the use-of-force class was first introduced as part of the department’s Spring 2021 academy, and it is slated to stay in curriculum. The department’s Fall 2021 academy began in August and is set to end in November.
“This academy is meant to be beneficial for the community and answer a lot of questions that they may or may not have had prior to their experience with CPA,” she said. “So I think use of force was a good topic that needed to be addressed to create that transparency and legitimacy within our department.”