Joined the Citizen's Academy!
I would appreciate if folks who read this thread will keep remarks respectful and dignified.
My wife decided to enroll in the Citizen's Academy established by our county sheriff. Rather belatedly, I decided I wanted to go, and my pardner made his decision at the last minute but got enrolled as well. So Tuesday evening, we all went to attend our first session of this eleven week course.
Before I go on, this is what the sheriff's office says about the Citizen's Academy:
"the Citizens Academy, will provide a "hands on" experience, including driving. Specialized units, such as the Bomb Squad, SWAT, K-9 Unit, Firearms Training, Crime Lab, Posse, Search and Rescue, and Dispatch, will demonstrate many of the functions and aspects of the Sheriff's operations."
I know many folks who view law enforcement with a jaundiced eye, and I also know of police officers who do not trust citizens.
The Citizen's Academy gives a real opportunity for citizens to see the world through the perspective of the officer, and the officer gets an opportunity to meet with citizens in a positive and productive manner. In essence, we can learn a great deal from one another through this course.
I am personally looking forward to learning about the posse, and how that works and how they keep records of their experiences. It may be that they have records of posse activity dating back more than 100 years, and if so, could be a positive boon to me as a metal detectorist. Knowing where outlaw activity took place could lead to a stash of buried loot! Yeah!!!
Search and Rescue should be interesting, as well as driving. What I understand is that we get the opportunity to drive a squad car. How cool is that? We also will see the crime lab, and that's gotta be outstanding! Don't know if we'll get to shoot at Firearms Training, but I'd be really excited about that in particular. I'm also looking forward to seeing SWAT up close, and see the type of gear they carry.
In the session on Tuesday, two county prosecutors gave a presentation on their work and how things progress through the system to become a case in court. They covered RAS, Probable Cause, Preponderance of Evidence (in civil cases), and the concept of Beyond A Reasonable Doubt. Those of us in attendance had a unique look at the process and took questions from the group.
Then we were given a presentation on the Emergency Operations Center from the Deputy who runs the organization. I wonder how many citizens of our county even know this exists, or that they have a whole bunch of people that can be brought together to manage an emergency very quickly. Often this group can be operational within an hour! The group consists of law enforcement, communications specialists, public service authorities, policy authorities, I.T. specialists, Search and Rescue, and a whole bunch more. Whether it is a natural disaster or terrorists attack, this group of individuals and specific groups is ready to mobilize to meet the challenge very quickly. I was amazed that this group exists, and are so well organized to respond to an emergency situation.
The Citizen's Academy is an opportunity for citizens to learn about things from the other side of the badge. It is a chance to learn about our sheriff's department and the work they do. I'd highly recommend everybody to get involved in a Citizen's Academy if your local sheriff has one. If not, perhaps ask that they start one up! There are services that exist within the sheriff's office that are focused on protecting the citizen, help them when crime happens (victim's advocates) and provide social opportunities for folks to interact with deputies.
My pardner and I both open carried our handguns and locked them up in the car once we got there. During the presentation by the county attorneys, I had an opportunity to talk about open carry in Colorado and how some officers have infringed that right. Not in our county, but in several nearby jurisdictions. That was while they were trying to explain Reasonable Articulateable Suspicion (RAS).
Again, I ask that folks keep this thread respectful and dignified. Whatever your sentiments about law enforcement, I believe this type of Citizen's Academy can benefit every citizen. As you know, I advocate a working partnership between law enforcement and citizens to help make our communities safer and less inviting for criminals. As I told the County Prosecutor, I open carry but would much rather have cops on the scene than need to draw my own weapon to defend my life!
From what I've seen of Citizens Academy so far, it will be a really fast 11 weeks! And I expect to learn a great deal along the way.