Lynnwood citizens get an inside look at the police department

They’re not cops, but they did some of the same training.

More than 80 people graduated recently from the Lynnwood Police Citizens Academy. The popular 16-week program, which began in 1995, helps familiarize the public with common police procedures, activities and investigative techniques.

They cover several areas of police work — officer safety and defensive tactics, DUI, accident reconstruction, crime scene technology, detective work, SWAT response, negotiation, polygraph, weapons, gangs, graffiti, volunteer opportunities, narcotics, confidential informants, Lynnwood jail and Municipal Court.

Trudy Dana from the Crime Prevention Unit says the students even investigated mock crime scenes.

“They begin with a bar fight that is broken up by officers, continue with DUI and traffic stops, become involved in ID theft and various other crimes, and then function as confidential informants. In later weeks the couple is involved in domestic violence, another assault, are then interviewed by detectives. Eventually one of the main three actors is killed and eventually his assailant takes his former girlfriend hostage. It ends when she is rescued by the SWAT team. The year we began these dramatics, we found that our good attendance improved. Class members told us they could not bear to miss a session to find out what the bad guys would do next!”

The students take field trips to the 911 agency, the gun range and ride along with patrol officers.

Lynnwood Police are accepting applications for next year’s sessions, which begin in January 2011. Classes take place in the Municipal Courtroom above the police station each Thursday from 7 to 10 p.m.

Dana says many of the students end up volunteering with the police department.

“Last year our volunteers worked over 22,000 hours assisting the police department. Pretty impressing stats for volunteer groups,” she said.

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