LA CROSSE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – For the last two weeks, the La Crosse Police Department (LCPD) has been working with the Hmong Cultural & Community Agency. LCPD Chief, Shawn Kudron, explains, “What we have developed is a citizen’s police academy for our Hmong community. Officer Vang, who works with our department here, reached out and he solicited interest in what it would look like if we put together a citizen’s academy for our own community.”

In a statement, Officer Alex Vang, who also works with the Hmong Agency says the aim of the Hmong Citizens Police Academy is to build relationships with the Hmong community, foster a sense of understanding between the role of law enforcement and its dedication to serving all residents in the city. Chief Kudron adds, “It gives us an opportunity as a police department to not only provide some information that you wouldn’t normally get to see kind of behind the scenes how a police department works, what our philosophies are, what’s important to us when it comes to serving our community. But we also get to learn from the community we serve and we get feedback from them in person.”

The academy not only helps the officers. It helps the community as well. Kudron says, “Our community gets to see our officers in a different light, gets to really see them just as humans, who they are. This is just the job that they do to serve the La Crosse community. This has a way of kind of breaking down some of those inherent barriers at times to realize what it is that we do, how we go about our day, and what serving a community in a law enforcement or policing capacity is all about.”

The academy began two weeks ago. The classes so far have covered topics such as investigations, defense and arrest tactics, tasers, traffic stops, and OWIs. The academy will have its final class on Wednesday on firearms.

The department hosts a Citizen’s Academy at least once a year. If you want more information on how to attend a future class, you can reach out to the Professional Standards Bureau at 608-789-7240.