Kennewick police are offering Tri-Citians a chance to get a rare glimpse into how the police department runs.
The annual five-week Citizens Academy begins March 23 and consists of Wednesday and Thursday night training until April 21. Applications are due Monday.
"The primary objective we have is to be as transparent as we can with the community to show them what we do and how we do it," said Sgt. Mark Weber. "The reality of it is our jobs are really varied. It's not just (writing) speeding tickets, but that's what a lot of people think it is all about. It gives them a real-life insight."
Academy attendees will get to hear officers talk about patrol procedures, what being a detective or narcotics officer is like, and how the K-9, traffic and crime prevention divisions operate.
Participants also get to learn about how police monitor sex offenders, see some of the equipment used during SWAT raids and find out about community partnership programs such as crime-free living, he said.
"It's a little variety of everything," Weber said, adding that while not everyone will be interested in all the topics, "there are several things that most citizens are going to be interested in."
The group also will take a field trip to the Benton County jail, dispatch center and to meet a judge.
Most people don't have contact with police or the justice system, so it's a chance to provide a brief introduction to it and show them it's not at all like the TV crime shows.
"The general rule is, you only talk to police when something bad's happening and that leaves a bad taste in your mouth," Weber said. "This is an opportunity for them to see us in a different light."
Those who attend the class can use it as training to be a Kennewick police volunteer, but there's no requirement to volunteer or do anything beyond getting to know the department a little better.
The academy will run from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays at the Kennewick police station, 211 W. Sixth Ave.
Attendees aren't required to be Kennewick residents or live in the Benton County. The class is free.
Applications are available at the Kennewick Police Department and on the city of Kennewick website at go2kennewick.com/police, then click on the link on the left for Citizen Academy Registration.
For more information, call Kennewick police Sgt. Mark Weber at 582-1317 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.