WF officials give sneak peak inside city government

25 residents see first hand the in’s and out’s of city government
Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 10:53 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - The city of Wichita Falls is giving people a sneak peek inside how city government works and what roles those that work for the city play.

Wichita Falls Police Department, Fire Department and the Wichita County Sheriff’s Office have all had their own Citizen’s Academies. However, this is the first time ever that Wichita Falls officials have invited 25 residents to learn the in’s and out’s, of what it really takes to run a city.

“I have done all the citizen’s police, fire and sheriff’s academy. So I’m very interested in all things that the city does,” said Casey Hunter resident Wichita Falls.

During this programs residents will be spending once a week, in the same room with men and women that help run the city.

“A lot of times people feel there’s this wedge driven between the citizen and the city government. So we’re trying to pull that wedge out so that the citizens will interact with us and get as much information as possible,” said Stephen Santellana, mayor of Wichita Falls.

The idea to create the academy came from the city council’s strategic planning session. In the hopes to not only educate but get people involved with the city they call home.

“We’re a big business operation of over 1,200 full time employees and a budget of $185 million a year. So we want to better explain what comprises that operation,” said Darron Leiker, city manager of Wichita Falls.

According to city officials, residents won’t be spending the entire time in the classroom taking notes. Some classes will take place outside of the classroom and in the fields.

“We’re going to have a public works event and take a tour of the water treatment facility at Cypress. Then of course there will be a public safety with police and fire,” said Leiker.

Hunter lives in Wichita Falls but works as an administrator with the Burkburnett ISD and hopes to use this experience to build relationships that can be just as useful in the classroom.

“We’re always looking for ways to get our students out in the community through work-based learning or doing job shadowing. I think this is a great way for the average citizen to figure out what all Wichita Falls has to offer,” said Hunter.

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