The Yolo County Sheriff’s Office recently announced its first annual Citizen’s Academy. Designed to bolster trust and transparency, this program is an opportunity for Yolo County’s citizens to get a “behind the scenes” look at the Sheriff’s office and brave individuals within it.
Comprising the academy will be classroom presentations regarding pertinent law-enforcement topics, a tour of the newly expanded jail, a tour of the coroner’s office, demonstrations from the Marine Patrol Unit, SWAT, hostage negotiators as well as drone pilots. Alongside that, participants will also be able to take part in use-of-force training scenarios.
“The Citizen’s Academy is designed to give the public a basic understanding of law-enforcement and the knowledge of how we operate here at the Sheriff’s office. It also doesn’t require anybody to have knowledge of law-enforcement, but it’s a chance for people to see what happens ‘behind the scenes’ of the Sheriff’s office,” said Public Information Officer Lieutenant Juan Ceja.
“One of the main goals is to build a line of communication with the community to show that we’re being transparent of how and why we do things, and also give people an inside look on how we operate,” Ceja said.
The academy itself will run from Sept. 6 to Nov. 8 at the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office located at 140 Tony Diaz Dr. in Woodland. Sessions will take place on Tuesdays from 6 p.m.–9 p.m., save for two which will take place on weekends from 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Although lengthy classes may seem boring on paper, these hands-on experiences will be more than enough to keep one alert, awake and informed.
“We’re going to try to make this as hands-on as possible. For example, when we have our section on crime scene investigation, people are actually going to dust for fingerprints to see what the process is and the outcomes of it,” said Ceja. “They’ll have case studies that we’ve done for homicides and go through the progression of the investigation and see the results of it, too. If people want, they can also opt to jump on one of our marine patrol boats and go out on patrol for a couple hours. There’s also going to be demonstrations on all the equipment and gear we use on a daily basis and for special operations. Hopefully, too, we’ll be able to get people out on the range and try out some of our less-lethal options we have so they can see what they are.”
Ceja maintains that this academy isn’t intended to be a recruitment tool. Rather, an insight into the operations of the Sheriff’s Office. If someone does attend the academy and is inspired pursue a career in law-enforcement, of course Ceja and company wouldn’t be upset either.
To apply for the academy, one must be at least 18 years old, not have any prior felony or misdemeanor convictions that imply moral corruption, must live or work in Yolo County, be willing to submit to a Live Scan and be willing to commit to the 10-week program.
Applications can be found online at www.yolocountysheriff.com and are due by 5 p.m. on Aug. 26. For the best possible experience, the Citizen’s Academy is limited to 20 students, so one shouldn’t procrastinate on this opportunity that’s as educational as it is enlightening.