Citizen's Police Academy Forming

By Lenny Roberts

Some people say there’s never a cop around when you need one, while others counter there are too many police cars patrolling the valley. Whatever the perception is, a better understanding of the function and operational procedures of local law enforcement officers can lead to a safer, more stable community.

It’s been years since the Sheriff’s Department has offered valley residents training and an inside look at police work through the Ojai Police Citizen’s Academy. During the planned 11-week course, scheduled to begin March 24, students will be introduced to a variety of topics starting with the history of the Ojai Police Department and a station tour.
Academy classes will be taught by veteran law enforcement officers, and participants will have the opportunity to meet with Capt. Chris Dunn, Ojai’s police chief, and members of his staff. Academy members are encouraged to ask questions as well as express ideas and concerns. The curriculum and teaching methods are similar to the traditional Sheriff’s Academy. However, the weekly sessions are not designed to train participants as police officers.
The course is designed to give citizens an overview of procedures in Ventura County’s criminal justice system through the eyes of judges, prosecutors, public defenders, patrol and K-9 deputies, narcotics officers, station and major crimes detectives and S.W.A.T. and Bomb Squad teams. The classes will also include explanations of crime scene investigations and tours of the Ventura County Main Jail in Ventura and the Air Unit and Sheriff’s Academy at the Camarillo Airport. The training will conclude on June 2 with the Citizen’s Academy graduation, featuring invited guests, refreshments, the presentation of certificates and photos with Ojai’s police chief and mayor.
The Citizen’s Academy requires a commitment of one night per week, three hours per session plus the scheduled ride-along. Those selected to participate will be notified by mail at least two weeks prior to the beginning of classes.
Participants will be selected by the Ojai chief of police. Applications are available at the Ojai Police Station, and enrollment is limited per class.
Potential candidates for the Ojai Citizen’s Academy must meet the following criteria:
• Minimum age of 18 years
• Live or work in Ojai or the unincorporated area of the Ojai Valley
• No felony convictions
• No misdemeanor convictions within one year of application
Any requirements may be waived or modified upon review and approval by the chief of police.
For additional information about the Citizen’s Academy, call 646-1414 during normal business hours. Classes will be held on Wednesdays from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Ojai Police Station.

It’s been years since the Sheriff’s Department has offered valley residents training and an inside look at police work through the Ojai

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