UW News

March 12, 2009

Learn the beat: UWPD Citizens Academy coming Wednesday afternoons April to June

Want to find out more about the UW Police and how they do their job? The UW Police Citizens Academy might be just the thing.

This year’s Citizens Academy will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays from April 1 to June 3, in 203 Fishery Sciences, across the street from the UWPD. Signups will be taken through March 23. The classes are free and open to all UW faculty, staff and students.

UWPD crime prevention officers Warren Bresko and Arnie Belton are organizing the academy. Bresko said the sessions will cover most aspects of community and campus policing — patrol operations, criminal investigations, traffic enforcement, domestic violence and crime prevention strategies.

One part of the sessions that participants usually find interesting, Bresko said, is when they go behind the station for a demonstration of “patrol procedures,” including how officers approach a suspect and get him or her to exit a car.

Bresko said there also will likely be time spent discussing “active shooter” scenarios — how to respond when a violent outbreak is taking place. The session “helps train a person to be better prepared for a situation of violence,” he said. Oh, and participants also will likely get to meet Kali, the UW’s bomb detection dog.

He said classes this year also will take a closer look at the various equipment used by the UWPD, including the dashboard video camera and the Mobile Data Centers — computers in the cruisers.

Dave Girts, manager of the UW Violence Prevention and Response Program, also will discuss such extreme situations, and will show a DVD on the subject titled Shots Fired: When Lightning Strikes.

Meegan Amen, program coordinator for the College of Built Environments and building coordinator for Gould Hall, said she attended the last citizens academy to get a better feel for how the UPWD does its work.

“My objective in taking it was to be able to give information to students and faculty,” Amen said. The academy dispelled any notions that the UWPD aren’t “real police,” she said. “I learned how complex the department is … their training is exactly the same as any other police force.”

Amen added, “All in all, if you really want to understand what’s going on on campus it’s important to understand the police relationship to all that, and their responsibilities. They don’t get the credit that they should.”

To apply for the academy, e-mail Bresko at wbresko@u.washington.edu or Belton at arnieb@u.washington.edu, and they will send back an application. There are no special requirements for the Citizens Academy, but UWPD will screen all candidates and reserves the right to refuse any candidate.

The Citizens Academy is not related to employment with UWPD in any way, but it may have started at least one UW person on a new career direction. Bresko said one former academy participant was a teacher in an area alternative school but has since decided to explore the possibility of becoming police officer.

For more information about the UWPD, visit online at http://www.washington.edu/admin/police/index.shtml.