An Oak Harbor Police Department Citizens Advisory Board member uses a firearms training simulator. Participants of the free Citizens’ Academy held by the Oak Harbor Police Department will likely have the chance to use the simulator and do other police training during the program. Photo provided

An Oak Harbor Police Department Citizens Advisory Board member uses a firearms training simulator. Participants of the free Citizens’ Academy held by the Oak Harbor Police Department will likely have the chance to use the simulator and do other police training during the program. Photo provided

Police holding Citizens Academy

The Oak Harbor Police Department is hoping to give an in-depth look at the experiences and training of police officers through its free Citizens’ Academy.

The 10 to 12 week training program for adults will take place once a week and will cover topics such as crime scene processing, evidence collection and drug investigation, according to Capt. Mike Bailey.

“It opens up communication and allows people the opportunity to get more of a first-hand understanding of what law enforcement goes through,” Bailey said.

He said around 20 to 25 people will be accepted and they can range from those who are curious about law enforcement to those who might want to volunteer with the department. Each class, scheduled from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday nights, will cover a different topic and a speaker from a different division within the department.

There may also be an opportunity to participate in a “shoot/don’t shoot” training simulator using technology from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

Sgt. Jenn Gravel will lead the program and create “mock scenes” in which participants will have the chance to go through the steps of a full investigation for various scenarios.

This can include dusting for prints, taking statements and learning about the forensic lab process, Bailey said.

“Most people see a CSI episode and think a crime can be solved in 20 minutes, and that’s not the case,” he said.

Speakers from the Island County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the coroner’s office and ICOM dispatch are also scheduled to give presentations.

At the end of the program, a graduation will be held for those that finish. This is the first time the department has held an academy for adults, and Bailey hopes to keep it going on an annual basis.

Chief Kevin Dresker and Gravel will give a department tour and overview of the program at the first meeting, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 6.

For information, call Bailey at 360-279-4602 or Gravel at 360-279-4664. Application is online at www.oakharbor.org

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