Willimantic Residents Get Law Enforcement Lesson - NBC Connecticut

Willimantic Residents Get Law Enforcement Lesson

Residents Get Lesson in Law Enforcement

(Published Friday, April 10, 2015)

Willimantic police are giving 30 residents a close-up look at what they do, when they do it and the equipment they use.

"We know the community is part of the police department, but we want it to be the other way around. We want that door to be open for people to be able to come in, see the K-9s, ask questions," said Willimantic police spokesman Cpl. Stan Parizo Jr.

The Citizens Police Academy is an 11-week program, and this week's particular lesson involved use of force. One officer even volunteered to be tazed in front of the class to raise money for charity.

It's a five-second blast of 50,000 volts, and many found themselves having to decide if and when to pull the trigger.

"I think it shows them the immediacy we deal with, the fact we go to a domestic, we go to a bar fight. It's literally seconds we have to make that decision," said Parizo.

It's a hot topic across the country that's left police departments and communities at odds. Back in August, surveillance video showed an 18-year-old being tazed in Hartford.

Then, during New Haven's annual St. Patrick's Day parade, video surfaced revealing a handcuffed 15-year-old girl violently forced to the ground. Both incidents prompted protests and rallies. Internal affairs investigations cleared the officers, but tensions remained.

Police say talking and interacting with one another can help bridge the gap between officers and the citizens they're commissioned to protect.

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