Sun, Feb. 23

Citizens Police Academy offers valuable insight

About a month ago, we graduated the seventh class of the Cottonwood Police Citizens Academy. The graduation included 28 citizens who spent 10 Thursday nights learning about the world of policing in the City of Cottonwood. They learned about the criminal justice system, narcotics, forensics, and a variety of crimes and the ways they are investigated. The citizens also participated in hands-on exercises learning to shoot police weapons at the firearms range, feeling the fear of conducting a building search, and participating in the challenge of deciding when to shoot or not to shoot.

In my many years of policing and participation in citizen academies, the response from the citizens is always the same ­ they feel true regret that the classes come to an end. They really enjoy the experience, they have ample opportunity to ask questions and, most important, they meet and learn about the officers who provide their public safety.

Some citizens regret severing their relationship with the police department so much that they become volunteers or they join the Citizens' Academy Alumni Association. The Association has regular meetings and presentations about other law enforcement related topics. They also continue to support the police department in many ways. I always have felt that law enforcement was a family and I think these citizens have the same feeling and they want to remain a part of that family, and they do through the Association and/or the volunteer program.

This fall, the police department is hosting Class 8 of the citizens' academy and we are currently accepting applications for those citizens that would like to attend. Applicants must live or work in Cottonwood and make a commitment to attend all the classes barring a reasonable excuse. The class will last 10 weeks and will be held on every Thursday between Sept. 8 and Nov. 17. The classes begin at 7 p.m. and conclude at 9 p.m. and are held at the Cottonwood Public Safety Building at 199 S. 6th St. If you are interested or need more information, please contact Sergeant Gary Eisenga at 634-4246, Ext. 142, or through e-mail at

If you have the time, give it a try. It will be an experience and the development of a relationship you will not forget.

Doug Bartosh is the Cottonwood Police Chief.

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