Sgt. Scott Vierk, a drug recognition expert, discusses the legal aspects of operating while intoxicated during the final session of the inaugural Clawson citizens police academy at the Police Department Oct. 29.

Sgt. Scott Vierk, a drug recognition expert, discusses the legal aspects of operating while intoxicated during the final session of the inaugural Clawson citizens police academy at the Police Department Oct. 29.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Clawson’s inaugural citizens police academy wraps up

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published November 10, 2020

 Nicole Marcero attempts to take a field sobriety test — conducted by Sgt. Scott Vierk, left, as Sgt. Jody Horne, right, watches — using a sanitized pair of “drunk goggles” during the final session of the inaugural Clawson citizens police academy at the Police Department Oct. 29.

Nicole Marcero attempts to take a field sobriety test — conducted by Sgt. Scott Vierk, left, as Sgt. Jody Horne, right, watches — using a sanitized pair of “drunk goggles” during the final session of the inaugural Clawson citizens police academy at the Police Department Oct. 29.

Photo by Sarah Wojcik

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CLAWSON — The Clawson Police Department, following the footsteps of several other local police departments, held a citizens police academy that officially concluded Oct. 29.

The Police Department offered the course for residents to learn more about how it operates. Each week, the academy covered a different part of Clawson law enforcement and featured specialists in those areas.

Topics included the history of the department, what it takes to become a police officer, the role of judges and prosecutors, firearms and defensive tactics, traffic law and traffic stops, and how to process a crime scene with an evidence technician.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the citizens police academy had to take a break after it last met in February due to the statewide lockdown in March.

“It was disappointing. We were cruising along and had a great group of people who really seemed to be enjoying themselves,” academy coordinator Sgt. Jody Horne said. “We left it open and ended up splitting it up. Obviously, we didn’t want to have big numbers in the room.”

Police Chief Scott Sarvello said the department canceled the graduation ceremony and split the final class into halves — one met Oct. 15 and the other Oct. 29, where they received a certificate of completion and a T-shirt.

The final class revolved around drunken driving and driving under the influence. Sgt. Scott Vierk, a drug recognition expert, taught the class.

Vierk went over the details of drunken and impaired driving offenses, which substances have what effects, videos of incidents that took place in the city of Clawson, and he staged a field sobriety test using a pair of sanitized “drunk goggles.”

Horne said the police who participated in the academy enjoyed themselves and that he hoped participants could take part in a ride-along with a patrol officer, another part of the course that was nixed due to the pandemic, sometime soon.

He added that the department would like to continue to offer the citizens police academy in the future.

“(Residents) get to know us on a more personal level,” Horne said. “The best part of the job is dealing with people. Sometimes, you see them at their worst. Sometimes, you see them on a friendly basis, and it makes us more approachable, I think.”

Nicole Marcero, a 15-year resident of Clawson, said her neighbor told her about the academy, and they attended together. Prior to the citizens police academy, she said she didn’t know a single police officer in the city.

“It’s been awesome,” Marcero said. “I’ve always been interested in law and police. I love those types of shows, so it’s just been super cool to see this side of it. Obviously, it’s not like what it is on TV. We learn about how stuff actually works.”

She said the different topics provided different perspectives that she had not considered before.

“It was also super fun, just meeting new people,” Marcero said.

For more information, call the Clawson Police Department at (248) 435-5000.

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