Train Like Police in the Citizens Academy
If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to be a police officer — making split-second decisions on the street, approaching suspicious characters in a traffic stop, or working with the K-9 canines – the new Douglas County Citizens Academy is not to be missed! And while this year’s Academy just filled up its 30-seat limit, you can still get on the waiting list for an opportunity to join the men and women in blue for a behind-the-scenes look at life as a police officer.
According to Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian McKnight, one-day classes have been offered in the past, but this new four-week academy is a more hands-on and collaborative learning experience for attendees.
“Most of the classes will be kicked off with an overview by captains of divisions: captains of patrol, detentions and investigations,” McKnight said. “Then officers will take over to talk about what the job’s really like and lead participants through actual day-in-the-life situations.”
McKnight said attendees will be exposed to the big picture and drill down to the moment-by-moment split decisions officers must make every day. “They’ll tour the courts, tour the jail, and be exposed to most of the specialty units, the bomb squad, the canine unit, etc.,” he said. “But we’ll also let them feel what it’s like to make a traffic stop, where they’re the officers and we’re the bad guys and lead them through actual scenarios we’ve experienced.”
Shoot/Don’t Shoot Decision-Making
The academy was redesigned with 30-hours of classes to acquaint the public with a first-hand experience with the job of policing.
“They’ll go to the range with a certified firearms instructor, then watch an interactive video scenario with weapons that shoot lasers,” McKnight said. “It’ll be a shoot/don’t shoot situation and depending on what they do with the laser, it will change the video to show them the need for quick decision-making.”
Sheriff’s Deputy McKnight invited interested participants to send him an email at email@example.com to join the wait list and learn more about the annual Citizens’ Academy held every September. McKnight said eventually the Sheriff’s Office will create an alumni association, with additional classes through the year.
Academy Dates: September 4 – 27
The annual academy is held at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office located at 4000 Justice Way in Castle Rock. Attendees must commit to the class schedule which is three hours, two nights per week, for the four-week period, and one Saturday. The Citizens’ Academy is free, but class size is limited to 30 participants, 18 years of age or older.
Classes will begin on Tuesday, September 4 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., and continue every Tuesday and Thursday through September 27. One Saturday class is required, which will be held on September 22 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Attendees who complete the academy will be able to participate in the graduation ceremony, on Thursday September 27 at 6:00 p.m. at the Sheriff’s Office.
If you move from the wait list to the class, you will be notified by the Sheriff’s Office and you will need to complete an online application with your photo I.D. and submit to a criminal background check, says McKnight, who oversees educational efforts for the Sheriff’s Community Resource section, including community education, neighborhood watches, and active threat classes for businesses.
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