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Safety Academy celebrates its second graduating class

The program helps adults with disabilities navigate the world and understand police

SUBMITTED PHOTO - An instructor works with this year's class in the Safety Academy, a Westside Crime Prevention Coalition program that aids adults with disabiliities.The Westside Crime Prevention Coalition graduated 15 candidates on Monday at the Hillsboro Police Department's Main Precinct.

The graduation ceremony marks the successful completion of the coalition's second program season since it began earlier this year. The Safety Academy is a free police awareness and personal safety program for adults with developmental disabilities in Washington County.

Based loosely upon the concept of the popular citizen police academy program, the Safety Academy is aimed at adults with developmental disabilities, who are often vulnerable to crime and exploitation. The goal of the Safety Academy is to help these adults better navigate through their day-to-day activities while being better prepared to face the challenges of living in an urban environment.

The Safety Academy is an avenue for adults with developmental disabilities to interact with police in a low-key and comfortable environment. The program serves to foster communication and enhance the personal safety of each participant.

All sessions are instructed by police personnel representing the Beaverton, Hillsboro and Tigard police departments as well as the Washington County Sheriff's Office. The curriculum presented is relevant and aimed to give attendees the knowledge and confidence to carry out their day-to-day activities better aware of potential risks.

Some of the topics from the five-week program included: how to avoid scams and protect personal information; getting help and interacting with police; traffic and pedestrian safety; using public transportation and ways to enhance safety when at home.