Does Precinct 4 offer a Citizens Police Academy? How much does it cost, how long does it last and where can I get more information?

Answer:

The Harris County Constable Precinct 4 Office does indeed does offer a Citizen’s Police Academy and it is free of charge!

This class offers citizens the opportunity to learn about many of the things law enforcement officers do. Expert speakers provide training in the form of lectures, demonstrations, tours, and hands-on activities.

There is far more to police work than what is shown on television or in the movies, and the reality is quite different. Attendees will get a real sense of the wide range of services and activities provided by our law enforcement officers. Some parts are behind the scenes and some are simply less publicized. Few know what dispatchers, warrant officers, civil deputies, and park patrol officers do. Others are investigators and work unseen on child pornography cases, human trafficking, cyberstalking, identity theft, and narcotics trafficking.

Each week, a different part of the Constable’s office will be spotlighted. Among the areas covered are cybercrimes, gang activity, K-9 activity, family violence, traffic stops and enforcement, juvenile crimes, and limited firearms training. Students may get to ride along with an officer for a full shift.

Each graduate is given membership in the Citizens’ Police Academy Alumni Association, which provides continuing education in police matters as well as service to the officers and the community.

The free classes are usually one evening a week for 10 weeks and are open to anyone 17 years or older. Those with a prior felony conviction are prohibited from attending.

Applications for the Citizen’s Police Academy are being accepted now for a session beginning either May or June, 2015. Applications can be completed online through cd4.hctx.net, using the “online services” drop window.

For information, call the Precinct 4 Constable Training Division at 281-401-6373.

Capt. David Escobar is a 22-year veteran who serves as the East District Patrol Division shift commander for Harris County Constable Precinct 4 Ron Hickman’s Office. He also serves as the East District public information officer. Send him a question at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

What it is: As Monty Python famously quipped, “And now for something completely different.” The ProMaster City is going to take a little more explaining than a normal pickup truck or SUV. First, it is manufactured by Ram, which is the brand that Dodge spun-off into a separate enterprise a few years back. ProMaster (the silliest model name ever?) designates it is one of the two vans that Ram makes, while City designates that it is the smaller of the two van offerings. The larger van is simply called the ProMaster. The City is really a Fiat Doblò with Ram branding. The Doblò has been produced for 15 years now in foreign markets. After the success of its competitor, the Ford Transit Connect, Ram has delivered a highly competent choice.
The City comes in two varieties, the Tradesman Cargo Van and the Wagon, of which I test drove the Wagon. The main difference between the two is that the Wagon has a row of seats behind the driver and passenger chairs, while the Tradesman Cargo Van has nothing but empty pasture behind the front row.

The first thing you notice about driving the ProMaster City is the very large amount of headroom. It felt like there was two feet of open room above me, so even Dwight Howard shouldn't have any difficult squeezing in. The ProMaster City is designed to be easy to drive and park, and the heavy car influence is easily felt. It uses a 2.4-liter four cylinder engine that is found across many of the Fiat/Chrysler vehicles and it is paired to a nine-speed automatic transmission. The result is smooth and easy to drive while delivering 21 city / 29 highway MPG. My test model was the Wagon SLT trim, which gives the van a more upscale feel (From work van to liveable. Not much luxury to be found here.) The SLT adds body-colored bumpers, fog lamps, a silver grille, optional aluminum wheels, and access to things like the rear back-up camera group ($495) and option second-row power windows/heated front seats ($495).

If you are going to be spending any time at all in the ProMaster City Wagon, then I would highly recommend the SLT trim.

The other great feature is the rear doors. I know that it sounds kind of silly, but they are split unequally 60/40, and both open to a full 180 degrees. This means you can get a ton of stuff (or a small herd of dogs) into the back, and it's really easy to get items out of the van as well.

MPG: 21 city / 29 highway
Price: $25,655 base Wagon SLT. $23,130 for Tradesman Cargo Van. $27,890 as-tested.
Upsides: Ultra high utility. Low cost.
Downsides: Rather ugly compared to comparable crossover choices
Wrap-up: It's kind of fun to drive the ProMaster City, which is clearly not the point. This is certainly not a vehicle you are going to see in most driveways, but for the right person it makes tremendous sense. That person probably has hobbies that requires a large enclosed cargo area or just someone that wants something different. These will mostly be purchased by businesses, but it is nice that Ram has made the effort to make a commuter ready version with the Wagon SLT.