Citizen academies invite you to do a little detective work

MONROE — Want to learn about police work?

The Monroe Police Department is accepting applications for its annual Citizens Academy, set to begin in March. The eight-week course gives people an opportunity to look inside the police department, police spokeswoman Debbie Willis said.

Participants will learn about identity theft, domestic violence and major crime investigations, and watch a demonstration by a narcotics team with a police dog.

Students will get a tour of the prison campus, drive a police car during a special course and fire simulated rounds during a mock training scenario.

The program also allows the officers to get to know their community better, Willis said.

“It’s educational for us and creates that relationship with the community,” she said.

Participants are required to commit one night per week and two Saturday sessions to complete the program.

The police department has offered the academy for about 10 years and had to turn people away almost every year, Willis said. The class size is typically 20 to 25 students.

Budget restraints didn’t allow the department to run the program last year, but officials planned carefully this year to find money for the academy, Willis said.

Similar programs exist in many other police departments. Lynnwood police will host their 20th academy this year, spokeswoman Shannon Sessions said. The 14-week program begins in January. Classes are on Thursday nights.

Students will investigate a mock homicide scene, lift fingerprints, get a taste of jailhouse food and tour the cells and visit a 911 center. Each week, police officers will act out a scene related to what the students are learning, Sessions said.

The department also uses the academy to recruit people for its volunteer program to serve as extra eyes and ears for the police, she said.

Want to participate?

In Monroe, pick up an application from the Police Department or go to http://tinyurl.com/monroeacademy.

In Lynnwood, get an application from the police department or at http://tinyurl.com/lynnwoodacademy. If you have questions or want an application sent to your home, call Trudy Dana at 425-670-5637.

In other cities, check with the police department to see whether it offers a similar program.

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