Organziers said 50 participants are registered for the first time Citizens' Police Academy to be hosted by St. Louis County Police, in partnership with Islamic Foundation members of the Daar-ul-Islam Mosque.
The eight classes, available to all mosque members, will be held from 6-8 p.m., beginning Wednesday. Participants will graduate Jan. 16.
St. Louis County Chief of Police Timothy Fitch said he believes the Citizens Police Academy creates the perfect opportunity for St. Louis County residents to get acquainted with the officers who serve and protect the community.
"Participants learn about what steps they can take to avoid becoming the victim of a crime and they get an inside look at how the County Police Department operates," Fitch said via press release. "Instead of relying on television or Hollywood, graduates of these academies can gain personal knowledge and experience in how actual police officers patrol their beats, conduct traffic stops and investigate crime."
Law enforcement professionals will instruct the classes.
Adil Imdad, outreach and community relations program coordinator for the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis and chairman of social services for the foundation, previously told Patch there are many Muslim immigrants in the St. Louis area who are not familiar with local law enforcement and how it works.
Imdad said the police academy course is available to all area Muslims, not just members of the mosque.
Imdad estimated there to be approximately 10,000 Muslim residents living in North County, where the Dar Aljalal Mosque recently opened this summer in the City of Hazelwood, which is also home to the Anjuman-E-Ahle Bayt and the Zainabiya Imambargah mosques on Howdershell Road.
Imdad estimated the following populations live in the remaining St. Louis sectors:
- St. Louis City: approximately 25,000
- West St. Louis County: approximately 15,000
- South County: approximately 15,000
This academy is free of charge, but advanced registration is required; contact Imdad at 314–324-3400 or e-mail at email@example.com or police officer Dusty Poncin at 314-615-0715 or firstname.lastname@example.org.