10:12 AM

UHDPD Planning Citizens Police Academy


By Mark Kramer

For the University of Houston-Downtown (UHDPD) Police Department, building solid relationships with those they serve is extremely important.

To that end, UHDPD is making plans to host its first-ever Citizens Police Academy, where faculty and staff, students and interested Houstonians will receive an in-depth look inside the department.

According to UHDPD Lt. Frederick Varela, registration for the academy will be launched this month. Classes will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. each Monday. Registration information will be posted on the department’s website.

“We see this as an opportunity to continue developing partnerships with the University community and the public,” Varela said. “The academy will spotlight what our officers face on a daily basis and the importance of working together to keep our communities safe.”

During the 10-week academy, participants will be involved in several interactive trainings involving police patrol procedures and also learn about the history of policing. The course will close with an exercise involving active shooter scenarios.

“I can’t stress enough how important the community is to us,” said Michael Benford, UHDPD chief. “Programs like the Citizens Police Academy give community members exclusive insight into police work and also emphasize how important their involvement is when it comes to keeping our campus safe and secure.”

At the conclusion of the academy, a graduation ceremony is planned to honor those completing the courses.

Varela noted that UHDPD will be among more than 150 departments in Texas that offer Citizens Police Academy programs.

“We hope to offer this academy at least twice a year,” Varela said. “Our police department wants to be as inclusive as possible. We are looking forward hosting this opportunity.”

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.