White Bear Lake Police Department Creates ‘Ambassadors’ with Citizens Academy

by | Jan 2020

Sgt. John Vetter of the White Bear Lake Police Department

Sgt. John Vetter. Photo: Chris Emeott

The citizens academy gives participants an inside view of the White Bear Lake Police Department.

No one likes getting pulled over for a speeding ticket, but have you ever thought about it from the perspective of the police? White Bear Lake’s citizens police academy gives the community a chance to do just that, and more.

For about 20 years, White Bear Lake’s police department has been offering the citizens academy, an eight-week series of classes, says Sgt. John Vette.

There are presentations about police services, a tour of White Bear Lake’s public safety building, and tours of the Ramsey County jail and Ramsey County’s dispatch center. Topics include police defensive tactics, how police make arrests and what to do if there’s resistance to an arrest, says Vette.

“We do taser demonstrations. Participants can volunteer to be tased. We also do traffic-stop simulations. We set up squad cars with officers acting as drivers. Participants walk up to the car and the officers put them into different scenarios. We have them see things from our perspective,” says Vette.

There is also an overview of firearms training, the force’s mobile field unit and crowd control. Participants also learn about narcotics investigations.

“We talk about what kind of drugs are in the community, how we investigate cases, how we can reduce drug use and overdoses. We also go to the Ramsey County sheriff’s office for a canine demo,” says Vette.

Vette says, “We look at people who’ve graduated from the academy as an extension of the police force into the community. People who have gone through the academy become ambassadors for the police force.”


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