WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.
Citizens looking to learn more about the internal workings of the York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office and the criminal justice system can now do so thanks to a new set of classes aimed at informing the public and dispelling suspicions aimed at law enforcement.
The classes come as part of the Sheriff’s Citizen Academy Class, which is a 43-hour block of instruction spread over 12 weeks, starting Sept. 14 and running through Nov. 30.
Three-hour classes will be held once a week and will cover different topics such as 911 communication, training, criminal investigations and narcotics enforcement.
Meetings will take place mainly on Monday evenings from 7 to 10 p.m. and are free of charge to those interested in attending.
York-Poquoson Deputy Sheriff Alan Bartnikowski said he believes the classes, which have been running for more than 13 years, are important to inform citizens about the day-to-day happenings of police officers. He said the classes hold extra importance due to how frequently law enforcement has been making national headlines.
“It’s very important. It shows what law enforcement basically goes through on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “The citizens are encouraged to do ride alongs. We ask them to do at least four-hour ride alongs. … It gives them a whole different perspective on what an officer is facing day-to-day.”
Participants will be taken on various field trips that include trips to the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail, police academy, firing rang, York-Poquoson Courthouse and Merrimac Juvenile Detention Center.
The Academy is open to all citizens at least 18 years old who either work of live in York County or Poquoson, though applicants must pass a background investigation to attend the classes.
Participants must attend 10 of the 12 scheduled sessions is required to successfully complete and receive a Certificate of Graduation.
To download the application, click here. For more information, call the Crime Prevention Unit at 890-3639.