Residents served by the Lennox sheriff’s station will get a firsthand look at how the department operates when the station launches a 13-week program Thursday to show community members the ins and outs of law enforcement.
The Citizen’s Academy is designed to build a better understanding between residents and the Sheriff’s Department by exposing community members to department procedures. Lennox sheriff’s station officials have selected 25 people to participate in the program, which they hope to offer twice a year.
Students in the academy will attend seminars on how the department conducts undercover operations and criminal law. The group will also go on a tour of the Men’s Central Jail and visit Laser Village, the sheriff’s firearms training grounds, where they will be able to shoot a 9-millimeter handgun and learn the department guidelines on the use of firearms.
The Lennox program is part of a Los Angeles County sheriff’s community policing initiative that started three years ago to familiarize the community with the department’s operation. The Walnut station was the first to offer an academy but the program has expanded to nine other stations.
“We are very happy with the results of this program,” said Natalie Macias, director of community law enforcement for the sheriff’s office. “There are people who live in the jurisdiction of a station and all they see are patrol cars . . . bad experiences. The academy shows them what the deputies really have to go through.”
In Walnut, the program is so successful that many graduates of the academy have been hired by the department or serve on volunteer police patrols, Deputy Stella Lamers said.
“Some of these people get a taste of law enforcement and they become addicted,” Lamers said. “They end up sticking around for more.”