Citizens' Police Academy: Day 1

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Volunteer PD

Tonight was the first night of the Fairfield Citizens’ Police Academy. As expected there were a lot of introductory shenanigans.

Deputy Chief Paul Bockrath stepped up to say welcome.

Deputy Chief  Paul Bockrath

Turns out he originally started the program six years ago. His boss gave him three weeks to put together this extensive and jam packed 9-week program and he miraculously did. I didn’t get a chance, but I wanted to ask him if Mountain Dew played a part in that coup, as I suspect it probably did. Have I mentioned that I think Mountain Dew is more powerful than crack? Who cares about pot, which just makes people lazy, sleepy and hungry? We need to be focused on addictive stimulants like Mountain Dew, people! Let’s get our priorities straight!

I’m such an asset to this community.

Anyway, back to the big welcome. Officer Jeff stepped up and led the rest of the way.

Jeff Conner

We got to interview (and then introduce) the person next to us as a way to practice our investigation skills; learn how to escape the building in case of an emergency; visit the 911 dispatch office and discover that there are only TWO dispatchers answering all the emergency service calls for a city of 150,000 plus people and their cubicles are outfitted like cockpits and they think that delivering a baby over the phone is just a normal day at work.

We also got to visit the evidence holding area and learn how evidence is processed through the system. There’s a bank of lockers (think high school) that lines a long wall. If you open a locker you can see right through to other side of the wall where police personnel retrieve the evidence and begin the processing procedures. It’s just like submitting your pee at the doctor’s office. You put your pee in a hole in the wall and someone on the other side steals it, logs it, barcodes it and stores it somewhere. I’ve always wondered where, how and for how long they store your pee. Haven’t you wondered that? Like is there a ginormous room somewhere with shelves and shelves of little cups of pee, like something out of The X-Files? How long do they keep it for and how do they dispose it? Is it someone’s job to stand there and pour it down the drain? Hey, it’s just the way my mind works. [You should hear her at the office.–AC.]

Getting back to real life: It turns out that PDs are not standardized in the way they handle and process evidence. They each do it differently. Depends on their equipment, technology, man-power, etc. All of a sudden it’s understandable how the process could be riddled with human error. Can anyone say O.J.?

Fairfield PD makes officers bag and log their own evidence so that they can swear in court that they recognize the evidence. Apparently, in the past, officers would just stick evidence in the locker and someone else would bag and log it, then when the evidence came up in court the officer wouldn’t recognize the bag it was in (cause they didn’t bag it) and this would cause doubt and get the evidence thrown out. Interesting.

The other interesting thing is that after they’re done with the evidence, if it isn’t claimed, they consign it with a business called PropertyRoom.com or StealItBack.com. Hmmmm. Me thinks many a good deal can be had on this site and according to one PD insider’s advice, “go there before you go to e-Bay!”

There you have it folks, the inside scoop!

PS: I did get confirmation that we DO get to do ride-alongs, will get training in the new driving simulators, work with guns, the SWAT team and will MAYBE get a chance to tazer each other. Whoopee!

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