News

Sheriff's Office holds Citizen's Academy

KENMORE-Last week about 20 recruits for the King

County Sheriff's Office Citizen's Academy began a 13-week journey that

will show them the various aspects of the department.

Since I often cover police issues for the Valley Record, I thought

the academy would be the best opportunity for me to see what happens

on the other side of law enforcement. Most of the other participants also

interacted with the Sheriff's Office through their jobs, whether

they worked for a contracting city or a government agency. But everyone

shared the same curiosity and excitement of learning more about their police

department.

"I heard about the Citizen's Academy at a neighborhood block

watch," said Connie Hiersche, a senior at Shorewood High in

Shoreline. "Knowledge is power and some day some of it might be useful."

We all got a badge — well, it is more like a printed name tag in a

plastic cover — and a handbook that will unravel the mysteries of the

Sheriff's Office.

Leading the group's quest for knowledge are Sgt. Gary Kain of

the Shoreline Police and Sgt. Ken Wardstrom, chief of the

Woodinville Police.

Some of the topics that will be covered during the Citizen's

Academy include hostage negotiations, youth violence and fraud. There will also

be several field trips, and as an option, we can participate in a ride-along

with an officer or learn about firearm use and safety.

The King County Sheriff's Office, led by Sheriff David Reichert,

serves more than 500,000 residents living in approximately 2,000 square miles

of the county. The office also provides police services for 13 contract

cities including North Bend and Carnation.

Part of the vision of the Sheriff's Office is to work with

community members to promote crime prevention and problem solving. One of the

ways the police are building local ties is by providing community police

officers in storefronts throughout the county.

"The goal of the storefront is that people will see it, come by and

come in," said Mark Childers, the community officer for Kenmore.

There is a storefront in the Valley that serves the residents of

Carnation, Fall City, Preston, North Bend and unincorporated areas of

Snoqualmie. Deputy Don "Mike" Hasting is

the community officer in Fall City and he admits that although he wants to

be available at the office, 90 percent of the time he is out and about in the

community.

Most of Hasting's day is spent in the schools, at local community

and business meetings, setting up neighborhood block watches and

advising people and businesses on how to protect themselves from crime.

"Community policing is a philosophy that's not new," Hasting said.

"It's the way we involve people in law enforcement and how we deal

with people in a more humane, compassionate way."

Hasting said community police officers often handle issues that

patrol officers generally don't have the time to do.

"We do a lot of police-related problem solving," he said. "I can

come in and get the people affected by the problem and we try and come up

with what the problem is and then we try to come up with a solution."

The King County Sheriff's Office Fall City storefront is located at

33409 S.E. 43rd St. and business hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to

4 p.m. Deputy Hasting can be reached at (206) 205-1830.

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