A little over thirteen weeks ago, at 7 pm on a Thursday night, I walked into the Lynnwood Courthouse for my first night of Citizen’s Academy. This 13 week course—three hours, once per week—covered a huge range of services and departments in the Lynnwood system, focusing primarily in police work.
I have to admit: that first night was pretty boring. It’s like that first day of a new semester, going over the abnormal psych syllabus, over viewing general material and minutiae. You get these teasers. Anxiety disorders. Schizophrenia. Spring break.
Except our syllabus looked more like: Homicide investigations. Narcotics. Why are there so many registered sex offenders in my neighborhood?
One thing that surprised me was the wide range of motivations in my fellow Academites. The half dozen or so high school kids getting credit for sacrificing a night a week. The old women who seemed to be there in order to tell the police all the things wrong with their neighborhoods. The Russian transplant looking to change his negative views of police officers and the legal system.
Honestly, I thought there’d be more writers. Because it’s an excellent course. Thirteen weeks, absolutely free (they even provide bad coffee and decent snacks), and you get hands on experience in a field that can be used in every. Damned. Genre. You guys, I have so many notes. Tons and tons of notes. All night my fingers would be tapping a lovely thump-thump on my iPad as I struggled to keep up with the fast-paced detectives, or coordinate taking pictures of the suitcase full of munitions.
My favorite presentation was K9 night. After a brief lecture, we gathered up our stuff and made our way outside, where an officer sporting a training arm (basically a bunch of foam around a tube) faced off with the highly trained beast. That dog can grip. It was also patently obvious how well it’s handler controls him. The dog only responds to its owners voice, obeys commands almost before they’re out of the officer’s mouth, and is will not let go unless ordered to. It can also track like a fucking champ.
I can’t recommend this class enough. It’s a yearly thing, and I get the impression it fills up pretty fast. You may not agree with police tactics. You may already be well-versed in the ways a police department works. Maybe you’re not a writer, and you’re reading my blog because your favorite brony slash site crashed. Whatever. This class gave me insight and a lot of tactile experience I can’t pick up from any amount of online research.
Like the depressing pall pervading the halls of the jail.
How very loud and very bright a flash bang can be.
And what it feels like to watch a girl, barely old enough to drink, get put into a cop car in cuffs because she was stupid enough to take up with a junkie.
On that cheery note, I’m signing off.