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Citizen's Police Academy: Week 2

Updated: Thursday, March 27 2014, 11:53 PM CDT
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- Week 2 of the Cedar Rapids Citizen’s Police Academy began with a simple message from CRPD - statistics show speed cameras work.

“If you saw a police car there, would you slow down - Yes,” says Sgt. Mike Wallerstedt with CRPD. “Having these cameras there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week does the same thing.”

It hasn't stopped the Iowa Department of Transportation from challenging their use, however. I-DOT recently said counties would have to send in annual reports in order to justify the use of the cameras. Wallerstedt says the department is ready.

“We were complying before they even publicized those rules. We're going to supply the DOT with all the data that they want.

During the discussion, we also got confirmation of a long believed rumor - the cameras on 380 do indeed have the ability to calculate average speed between the cameras. That ability could penalize drivers that slow down when they get to a camera then speed up over the limit when they pass it. 

However the feature currently isn’t turned on - it would require the city council to give the department permission to use it.

After the discussion, we moved from the gadgets that monitor the road to the vehicles that patrol and protect it. The class moved to the garage to take a look at the rarely seen bomb squad.

The instructors made an emphasis to separate fact from fiction, especially with the release of recent hit movies like ‘The Hurt Locker.’ Officer Mark Asplund says there are big differences between Military EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and what they do.

“That would be our last resort, to have to cut wires,” Asplund says.

They rely on monthly training, often times while wearing 100 pound bomb suits and gear.

“Very cumbersome, especially in the heat of the summer,” Asplund says.

Then there's their robot, with fully functional cameras and extensions. It’s armed to go into danger, so they don't have to.

“The robot costs $250,000,” Asplund says. “I don't know what my life is worth, but hopefully more than that.”

Next week, we hop in a vehicle and head out on patrol with CRPD, Join us every Thursday for the next 10 weeks as we take you behind the scenes at the ‘Citizen's Police Academy.’Citizen's Police Academy: Week 2


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