Like the legions of TV viewers across the country who’ve made behind-the-scenes shows about police more popular than ever, Brentwood residents who’d like to know more about cops and the jobs they do will get their chance in a new 10-week program starring the men and women of the Brentwood Police Department.
“We want to build a stronger relationship with local residents and community leaders,” said BPD Lt. Tom Hansen, who’s spearheading the first Citizens Academy, beginning in May. “It’ll be a fun thing where people can relax and learn about what we do on an informal basis, and get to know some of our officers on a more personal basis.”
Unlike the popular TV shows, the academy will be live, and most of the classes conducted at the department’s Brentwood Boulevard headquarters. (Two sessions will involve field trips to outlying facilities.) The program will be held on 10 consecutive Wednesdays from May 5 through July 7 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Citizens Academy will run the gamut of police activity, offering classes on everything from crime analysis, investigations and evidence to school programs, gangs, traffic enforcement and even a trip to the county jail – as visitors. Participants will get lessons on handling Tasers and other weapons, crisis negotiation, weaponless self-defense and even handcuffing techniques. Field trips will visit the county jail, juvenile hall and the coroner’s office, among other destinations.
“You’re going to see some of the same stuff” seen on popular TV shows, Hansen said. He added that, because the classes will be conducted by BPD officers, there won’t be a show-biz cultural feel one gets from the tube. “You’re going to get a taste of the Brentwood PD culture,” Hansen said. “You’re going to get a taste of reality.”
The course is free, although space is limited to 15 participants. Hansen said the hope is to run the academy three times per year, and once a session fills up, a list of those interested in the next course will be collected.
Those interested in participating can call Hansen for an application at 925-809-7710 or stop by the BPD headquarters at 9100 Brentwood Blvd.