I recently completed the Bend Police Department Citizen’s Academy spring class. It is my understanding that this class is offered twice a year. It is a means of providing information to the community about what our local law enforcement does on a daily basis. I have several friends in town who have taken this class, and have been very impressed. Now I know why!

This course lasts for nine weeks, with a total of 27 hours, and is eye-opening. The police officers who conducted the classes are professionals, proficient in the ever-changing law. We were introduced virtually to every aspect of policing: criminal investigation, drug enforcement, first responder activity, traffic control, K-9 work, ID theft, school resources, a chaplaincy program, etc. It also included a visit to the county jail and the 911 call center.

As an added bonus, we were encouraged to do a “ride-along” on a typical officer’s day in a cruiser. I did this and was well rewarded. With numerous pieces of technology in his car, the officer handled incoming calls for attention in an efficient and timely manner. I stood at his side as he interviewed several different individuals involved in alleged crimes of assault, and he was engaging and attentive, but never threatening. Most impressive work! Unfortunately, negative stereotypes of “street cops” exist in our society. But for me, this course reinforced the good that police officers do every day. If you have an opportunity to enroll, do so. It will be well worth your time and effort.

Linda Melton