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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Shawnee Police Department's Sentinel class learns to direct traffic

  • Candidates are progressing through the Shawnee Police Department’s Sentinel Academy, which is geared to providing training to citizens who are willing to volunteer at the police department.


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  • Candidates are progressing through the Shawnee Police Department’s Sentinel Academy, which is geared to providing training to citizens who are willing to volunteer at the police department.
    The Sentinel program is a volunteer force of members used to augment the functions of the police department through various tasks and responsibilities. Classes began May 10 and continue through the end of this month. Those graduating the academy will be available at least four hours per week, or 16 hours a month, with a limit of no more than 24 hour per week.
    As part of the academy, the Sentinels recently completed classroom training on traffic control, among other topics. To give them hands-on experience, the group was taken out for a live training exercise at Main and Harrison Streets, said Chris Thomas, administrator of support services
    “We put the traffic lights on all red flash and then took them out into the intersection and instructed them in traffic control,” Thomas said. “They learned that it requires constant movement and observation of all directions. They also learned that the movements that they make to direct the traffic must be very pronounced so that the drivers see and understand the commands.”
    Thomas said the Sentinel program allows the department to better serve the citizens as Sentinels can perform activities such as traffic control at accident scenes while freeing up officers.
    “We have all probably come upon an accident here in our community where there was such a traffic jam and a number of officers were trying to resolve the problem,” Thomas said. “In the mean time, there is probably another citizen somewhere in the community waiting for an officer to arrive to investigate another incident, or crime.”
    Thomas said Sentinels could arrive at an  accident scene and assist the main officer working the accident, thereby allowing the other officers to leave to handle other waiting calls.
     

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