BUCKHANNON, W.Va. – For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, the Citizen Police Academy and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training programs in Upshur County will return Tuesday night.

The courses, held at the Buckhannon Police Department, will run each Tuesday at 6 p.m. throughout the next handful of weeks.

“We had quite a good turnout prior to COVID,” said Steve Wykoff, Director and Fusion Liaison Officer with the Upshur Co. Dept. of Homeland Security & Emergency Management. “The (Buckhannon) Police Department and the CERT group are pretty transparent and we want the public to see what we do.”

The goal of the programs is to generate volunteerism, teach different skills and lessons, as well as showing people the responsibility and roles that police officers have.

“So even if people don’t have an interest in the law enforcement aspect of it, we ask that they check out the emergency response team training,” Wykoff said. “That provides a general overview of emergency preparedness and how you can take care of yourself, your neighbors and your family in the event of a major emergency.”

Participants were required to register for the courses ahead of time. According to Wykoff, about a dozen new students registered for the training, along with other people who have gone through the program before.

A few newer lessons will be on the course compared to the sessions prior to this year. Some of those new lessons will be on the new use of force simulator that the department received earlier in the year as well as information regarding the K9 Officer.

The classes are being sponsored by the: Buckhannon Police Department, Buckhannon Volunteers In Police Service, Upshur County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and Upshur County Community Emergency Response Teams.