Editor’s note: This is the final installment in a series of three first-person articles about the 13-week Citizens’ Academy, hosted by the Puyallup Police Department. Reporter Heather DeRosa is chronicling her experience attending each of the weekly sessions. See the May 12 and April 15 editions of The Herald for the previous stories.
On June 10, my classmates and I graduated from the department’s Citizens Academy. In our matching blue polo shirts, with a handshake from Chief Bryan Jeter and a certificate recognizing our participation, the 13-week academy came to a close.
In the past two stories I’ve written, I’ve focused mainly the men and women who sacrifice so much to keep the rest of us safe through their work at the police department. What I have yet to mention is my 20 or so classmates for the last 12 weeks. We’ve given up our Wednesday evenings and a handful of Saturdays just to learn more about the department and our role as citizens to keep our city safe.
My classmates and I have laughed over another pupil’s hilarious inquiry to see bike patrol officer Dave Temple’s calves. He politely declined.
We’ve cried over the stories police Chaplain Mike Boisture shared of families grieving the loss of loved ones.
We’ve diligently taken notes week after week about every department inside Puyallup PD.
We’ve even cheered each other on through some mock shoot, don’t shoot scenarios, and a slow-driving course.
While I knew the program would shed some much needed light on the occupation of police work, I didn’t expect to see so many of my classmates develop a passion for keeping our community safe. On Wednesday evening, many of us were asking just what will we do with our Wednesday nights free again. Crime prevention specialist Lisa Isaacs was quick to point out the need for people just like us to volunteer for the department.
There are many volunteer positions: graffiti cleanup, front counter operations, citizen patrol, disabled parking patrol, and positions as reserve officers and even Police Explorers for those 14 to 21 years old interested in police work. There is something for everyone interested in helping improve Puyallup —without the intensity of wearing an officer’s badge.
I encourage each of you to think about what you can do to help our community, whether that’s enrolling in Citizens’ Academy next spring, or stepping up to remove graffiti. No matter if you have two hours a week free, or two days a week free, there’s a spot for you to volunteer and give back.
Not only should our community feel lucky to have such a solid staff of police, our community should also feel lucky that there is a group of citizens wanting to do their part to keep our community safe.
For more information on Citizens’ Academy, or to reserve your spot for next year, email puyallupPD@ci.puyallup.wa.us.