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Crestview Police Dept begins "The Citizens Safety Academy"
CRESTVIEW - A police department, plagued with corruption, is trying to rebuild its credibility and trust with the community. Over the past year, several officers with Crestview Police Department have been arrested and fired.
In August, the former Major, Joseph Floyd, was convicted of racketeering and later sentenced to twelve years.
As a result of the testimony during Floyd's trial, Sergeant Matthew Purvines and Officer Zachary Faircloth, were fired.
And the former Chief, Brian Mitchell, is still awaiting trial for misconduct charges.
Now, the current Chief of Police is trying to move past the scandals.
Crestview Police Chief Tony Taylor says his department is becoming more transparent by inviting people to come inside.
The department has started a new program, "The Citizens Safety Academy."
The class is designed to give an inside look into the department and show Crestview citizens how their police department and other first responders work.
"We're giving them a peak of our world and what goes on behind the scenes," said Chief Tony Taylor.
Police Chief Tony Taylor says this class is a big deal for the city. He said for years the department was plagued with secrets and officers were not connected to the community. Now, he and his officers are trying to regain trust and bridge the gap of communication between his department and the people they protect.
"It has helped in the healing of the wounds," said Joyce Heath.
"These programs are at least a step in the right direction and I feel they are going to make a good improvement in the relations," said Tom Schmoldt.
This is the first class and the department decided to only have eleven students attend. They are in the process of completing the ten class program.
Students will be able to ride along with an officer and even go to the shooting range...
"You see it through the eyes of a police officer in the car," said Chief Taylor.
"It makes me appreciate them more for the effort that they put forth in their hard work towards their jobs," said Heath.
Chief Taylor says he plans to hold another class in the spring and at anytime you can stop by the department and pick up an applications.
Chief Tony Taylor says the internal investigation into the department is still on-going. He is still going through testimony from the Joseph Floyd trial and will do what ever is needed to "clean the department up."