The Nueces County District Attorney's Office wants to better prepare the Corpus Christi Police Department’s newest officers.
For the past week, prosecutors have been at the academy, teaching cadets about the law.
While this is the second class to learn directly from the current D.A.'s office, previous administrations had run something similar. Current District Attorney Mark Gonzalez re-instituted the program last year.
The program takes prosecutors out of the courtroom and into the classroom. As part of this partnership with CCPD, the District Attorney's office breaks down the state penal code for cadets.
“It's important for officers to know the law as it's applied, as it's codified, and what they're likely to see,” said Matt Manning, First Assistant District Attorney.
Broken into four-hour units laid out by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, prosecutors not only explain the penal code, they also give cadets examples through real-world scenarios.
“We're able to give them anecdotal evidence of what we've seen in cases, how things play out, what they're likely to see when they reach the street,” said Manning.
Cadets also learn what prosecutors need to make their case once a case goes to trial.
“Not only do we delineate all the elements to them, we also teach them the defenses,” said Manning. “We teach them if you come on a scene and see an A, B, C scenario, and you see this kind of conduct, then this is what is recognized as a defense under the law.”
The D.A.'s office believes a prepared office is more effective on the street, and a more effective officer is a better partner to both prosecutors and the public.
“This is all about partnership and it's all about working together to make sure that our citizens are best protected and best served,” said Manning.
In addition to these classes, prosecutors regularly train officers from across the county. In fact, the D.A.'s office will soon start preparing officers for all the laws changed during the legislative session.
While CCPD's is the only academy the D.A.'s office currently works with, prosecutors say they're willing to work with any county academy, regardless of class size.