The Waterloo Senior Police Academy finished its annual eight-week run last Wednesday and graduated nearly 30 participants.
Over the eight weeks, the attendees learned about a variety of topics from the Waterloo Police Department including CPR/First Aid, senior health and fitness, frauds, scams and driving safety in the free program provided every year.
In the past, officer Scott Spencer of the WPD has run the program, but since he was out with an injury, Chief Jim Trantham took over.
“I really enjoyed talking to the (attendees) and interacting with them,” Trantham said after the last class. “I taught D.A.R.E. for nine years, so I was used to fifth graders. With the seniors, this was a lot of fun.”
Trantham said the class is important to the seniors of the community so they stay aware of new laws, scams and other procedures.
“It’s good for them to be able to talk to officers and ask questions,” he said. “The interaction is the biggest plus for this whole program.”
Ellen Mantz of Waterloo said the most helpful thing about the academy is the information regarding scams, along with helpful tips around the house.
“Some things I had been doing and my mother taught me like putting aluminum foil in the bottom of your oven… We didn’t know about the carbon monoxide,” she said. “I’ve been passing a lot of the material (from the academy) on to my friends and family.”
Mantz said this was her first year coming to the sessions and will be bringing new friends next year.
Karen Harstine of Waterloo has been coming for at least eight years and said each year is different.
“You learn something new every time, every year,” Harstine said. “It’s a wonderful resource, and I’ve given some of the information to my cousin and her husband regarding medical situations.”
Harstine said she thinks it’s important for a program like the academy to be a part of the community, and she wishes more people would participate.
“There’s too many scams and manipulative people out there,” she said.
Mantz described a situation in which someone came to her door and wanted to check to see if her house was “air-tight” or not.
“He didn’t have a card, so I was apprehensive,” she said. “These are the kinds of things you learn in these classes.”
Harstine and Mantz bowl together and decided the academy would be another fun and helpful thing to do together.
The Senior Police Academy takes place for eight weeks in the fall each year and is free to those age 50 and over.