Eric Smith

2015 Spokane Police Department Citizens Academy - My Perspective

Eric Smith, guest blogger and Reserve Academy graduate, No Phone Number Available

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 3:05 p.m.

2015 Spokane Police Department Citizens Academy - My Perspective

Citizen's academy is full! - Updated 04-11-2016

I have always carried a high level of interest in local law enforcement throughout most of my entire adult life. An opportunity for me to attend the Spokane Police Department Citizens Academy came up last year (2015). The timing of this academy was right as it offered a manageable 5-day class schedule (one day a week, 3 hours per class and in the evening) that would not interfere with my work schedules. And the citizen's academy carried with it the best tuition price I could ever hope for – FREE! Therefore, I made the decision that I could not let this opportunity to attend pass me by.

A positive overall first impression is a huge factor in the success of any organization. I couldn't help but notice how clean and well organized everything was upon arriving at the Spokane Police Academy campus for my first day of class – from the main facility appearance to adjacent outbuildings and field-training specific areas – everything was clean, neat and tidy. Inside the main academy I was greeted and treated with dignity by all members of the department faculty, most of whom I noticed had high levels of physical fitness. When I inquired about their excellent physiques, they jokingly claimed it was from the drinking water!  I know personally how challenging it can be to maintain good fitness. Moreover, I thought Lt. Kevin King was one “cool cat” after meeting him for the first time on campus….real smooth. 

Each of the 5 academy classes started right on-time: 6 PM sharp. The instructors were clearly well-prepared and professional in presenting each class segment. They encouraged questions and provided a learning environment that was comfortable for the students. In addition, the course material was presented in a manner that could be very easily understood, both in the classroom and in the hands-on application. I considered these organizational aspects of the academy to be primary markers of 1) an organization that knew what it was doing and 2) an organization that had its act together.

The citizen's academy provided me with a broad overview of some of the very different and varied aspects of Spokane law enforcement operations, many of which were completely unknown to me prior to starting the academy. Some examples of areas that were covered in the academy both in the class room and hands on include patrol procedures, SWAT, K-9, body camera usage, taser application, handcuffing, defensive tactics, use of force principles, internal affairs, major crimes investigations, crisis intervention training, verbal defense and procedural justice. With respect to the K9 presentation, I have never seen a K-9 run, but the class had the opportunity to watch not only a K-9 run, but run and maneuver through a challenging obstacle/agility course. It was fantastic.

In conclusion, attending the citizen's academy provided me with a refreshing perspective and appreciation for the challenges that men and women of the Spokane Police Department and other departments face on a daily basis. Now, when I see the black and whites go by on patrol, I say to myself “thank you,” as I know from attending the citizen's academy that the safety and welfare of all law-abiding citizens is their priority number one.

About the Author
Eric is employed as a quality control specialist at a local pharmaceutical company. Once he completed the Citizens Academy, he was so passionate about police work and the Spokane Police Department that he applied to become one of SPD's Reserve Officers. He graduated the Reserve Academy in December of 2015 and now volunteers as an officer in his spare time.

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