RICHLAND, WA - The 2014 Richland Police Department Citizens Academy just wrapped up on Tuesday. Every week for the past three months, a class of 38 people showed up to the Police Department for a few hours.
"Everything from SWAT, bomb squad, patrol administration on down to community services. Lots of different subjects over 11-12 weeks, depending on the year," said Officer Rick Kane.
"I have to say my awareness level has gone through the roof. I have an appreciation for what these men and women are doing," said Citizens Academy graduate Allen Johnson.
But it wasn't just classroom work. The first field trip was in February. The class toured the Benton County Jail and SECOMM, the dispatch center.
Last weekend, a second field trip took the participants to the Emergency Operator Vehicle Course in Richland.
"We had to gas it, and then stop really fast and back it around a really tight corner and then we had to go again and go through serpentines. It was really fun," said Citizens Academy graduate Kayte Salter.
Next was the police shooting range where the class was able to get hands-on with a station-issued glock and an officer's rifle.
"They get to see where their money is being spent, they get to see what their officers are being taught and I think that's very valuable for a citizen," said Officer Kane.
"It's been really cool to even get to know the police officers themselves and the different personalities within all the different departments. It's fun," said another graduate, Courtney Werner.
"For me and my family, I feel like I'm in safe hands," said Johnson.