The Bainbridge Island Police Department's Police Citizen's Academy was founded in 2004. The goal of the program is to foster a better understanding of police work through education, and to improve communication between the citizens of Bainbridge Island and the officers who serve them. The intent of the program is not to produce civilians trained in law enforcement, but to help island residents and business owners become more familiar with the workings of their local police department, and become better acquainted with its officers. What the department gains in good will cannot compare to the benefits community members gain by knowing more about the men and women who serve them.
The 12-week course is offered once a year, usually toward the beginning of the year, and involves three hours of training from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday evenings with two optional Saturdays. Class size is limited to 20 participants.
What to Expect
Participants are presented with frank and candid explanations of how the units in the department function and have an opportunity to ask questions of guest speakers. There are no tests to pass and no educational credits earned, but participants gain a better understanding of the department’s decision-making processes, how and why policies are created, and have an opportunity to learn about the kinds of situations officers face every day. Most importantly, citizens can determine more accurately how effective the department is in serving the community. Some of the topics covered include traffic enforcement, narcotics, investigations, criminal law, defensive tactics, and identity theft. Also included in the program is an opportunity to ride with an on-duty patrol officer, and take tours of the 911 dispatch center, Kitsap County Coroner's Office, and Kitsap County Jail.
It is not necessary to be a resident of Bainbridge Island to apply for the Police Citizens' Academy, although city residents are given first priority. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, willing to make a 12-week commitment, and undergo a criminal background check.