Twenty-nine Yolo County citizens have graduated from the second annual session of the Yolo County Law Enforcement Citizens Academy, District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced this week.
The graduation ceremony was held June 13 at the Woodland Police Department. The District Attorney’s Office sponsored the academy in partnership with the Yolo County Sheriff’s Department, Yolo County Probation Department, California Highway Patrol and police departments from Davis, UC Davis, West Sacramento, Winters and Woodland.
The Citizens Academy is an eight-week course designed to involve citizens in mutual learning about the criminal justice system, diversity, and racial issues within the framework of our system of justice. The goal is to achieve improved relationships and communication between diverse communities and the criminal justice system.
Topics of the weekly sessions included: the role of the district attorney; the role of law enforcement, including internal affairs and review boards; the role of other partners in the criminal justice system, including the judiciary, the grand jury and the defense attorney; special challenges of prosecution, including the three-strikes law, domestic violence and public safety realignment; race as a factor in the criminal justice system; the Multi-Cultural Community Council; and community focus and gangs.
“I think participants learned about the challenges faced by law enforcement in our diverse communities throughout Yolo County, and what our public servants here accomplish,” Reisig said. “But they also found that law enforcement relies on its citizens in order to keep their neighborhoods and cities safe.”
“It was a wonderful experience,” Davis resident Carlos Matos said. “It covered all facets of the criminal justice system in Yolo County, and it gave an opportunity for participants to meet and talk to all players involved in the system including police chiefs, the sheriff, the judiciary, the defense attorney and the DA.”
Added Woodland resident Jim Zuniga: “The victims’ panel was an awesome presentation. It showed real-life people, with real-life experiences, that left me thinking a lot about the victims of crime.”
The Citizens Academy will be offered again in the spring of 2014. For more information, visit www.yoloda.org.