Mount Vernon, WA – Thirty-one students graduated from the 24th annual, Mount Vernon Police Department Citizen Academy on the evening of April 26th, 2018.
The annual 12-week program is put on by members of the Mount Vernon Police Department and volunteer members of the Mount Vernon Police Department Citizens on Proactive Patrol Unit (COPP).
Local Citizens apply to become students to participate in the citizens academy. Once the students are selected, they meet one night a week for 3 hours to learn the ins and outs of the Mount Vernon Police Department.
During the first week, students learn about the Police Department and meet City Staff, including the Mount Vernon Mayor and the Police Chief. They also receive a tour of the Police Department.
Over the course of the next month, students learn about the hiring, training and accountability of Officers as well as meet and interact with the traffic enforcement officers. The Community Service Officer teaches students about crime prevention and they have the chance to meet and interact with the Patrol Division and Neighborhood Deployment Officers.
The following month, students get to learn from Mount Vernon’s Animal Control Officer about Animal Control Issues within the city and meet Mount Vernon’s K-9 Unit. A Defensive Tactics and Use of Force Officer is brought in to teach about Mount Vernon’s policy on Use of Force. School Resource Officers meet with the students and teach them about Mount Vernon’s School resource Officer position and what they do within the Mount Vernon School District. The Students get to meet staff from the Skagit County Prosecutor’s Office and Dispatchers from Skagit 9-1-1.
The last month of classes, students get to meet the Mount Vernon Drug Investigation Officers and get hands of experience with the different type of drugs they come in contact with. Students then learn about Drug Court and how Drug Court helps people with addiction issues change their life and get clean and sober. The Records Division and Crime Scene Investigation Unit both teach a class and students get to learn about how records are kept and how Crime Scene Investigations are conducted. The Gang Unit and Police Tactical Operations Unit also teach and class and students get an in-depth look at the various gangs that have been identified in Skagit County.
Once the students complete all twelve weeks of training they get to experience a “Mock Scene” day where Mount Vernon Police Department Volunteers set up “crime scenes” at the local college training campus and the students get to interact with the Officers in the mock crime scenes, including taking fingerprints, “use of force” training simulators, conducting a traffic stop, and many other training opportunities. Students then get a full tour of the Skagit County Jail and a tour of the Skagit County Juvenile Detention Center.
As the 12-week course comes to an end, students get to sit alongside Skagit County 9-1-1 dispatchers and see how they answer and respond to emergency 9-1-1 calls and dispatch police, Fire and First Aid to a variety of emergency 9-1-1 calls. The students then get the opportunity to do a 4-hour ride along with a Mount Vernon Officer as he or she responds to calls within the City of Mount Vernon.
The final night of the Mount Vernon Police Department Citizens Academy, Students Graduate from the Citizens Academy in a ceremony with their friends and family. In attendance are the Mayor of the City of Mount Vernon, the Mount Vernon Police Chief, Members of the City Council, Mount Vernon Police Department Citizens on Proactive Patrol and Mount Vernon Police Department Command Staff.
In 2015, Skagit Breaking attended the 21st Annual Mount Vernon Citizens Academy and at that time, Mount Vernon Chief of Police Jerry Dodd wrote “Through the years, we’ve learned that the key to a strong policing foundation, is communication, cooperation and the development of community partnerships. It’s a pleasure to open our doors and invite you, to see who we are, what we do, and how we can help you. Our Goal for Citizen Academy students is for you to fulfill your 12-week commitment and graduate from the Citizens Academy with a better understanding of policing in Mount Vernon and a willingness to become involved in making our community a more safe and enjoyable place to live.”
If you are interested in attending the next Mount Vernon Police Department Citizens Academy, please visit their website by clicking here and filling out an online application form.