Sheriff's academy tries to bridge gap with East County teenagers
At some point during planning the annual Multnomah County Sheriffs Citizen Academy, someone had the idea that teenagers might benefit from their own sessions.
Now in its third year, Deputy Rafael Cortada says the youth academy is growing in popularity.
The first year it was a little hard getting people, but word has gotten around, Cortada said. What weve learned over the years is we dont want the kids to feel its torture. Theyre volunteering their Saturdays. We want to make sure its interesting and also pertinent to their lives.
Starting April 13, the sheriffs six-week youth academy covers topics such as rescues and how to diffuse a confrontation with language.
The program has a new element this year, Cortada said, to make it a bit more fun and interactive.
The kids will learn something in one module and then demonstrate that skill, he said. For example, taking the tools learned in first aid and search and rescue and translating them to a real-life situation.
So were going to have them do a mock rescue in the (Columbia River) Gorge, he said. When they get there there will be a person with a sprained ankle or something and have to show what they learned in class about first aid.
Cortada said hes heard positive feedback from deputies conducting the sessions.
The deadline for registratation is 5 p.m. Monday, April 4. The class is free and open to youth ages 14-17
The other deputies really enjoy teaching the classes too, he said. It really is a win-win for the community. The kids get to speak with police officers and police officers get to speak with them. These are kids who are interested in law enforcement or maybe theyre deciding if they want to pursue this as a profession.
The class also helps bridge gaps between teenagers and law enforcement, providing a better understanding of what police do and how they can help.
What I have found is people only know what a police officer does by watching a movie, and that is so far from the truth, he said. Were human and we can be funny. I would say a vast majority of people I work with really care about the community and people.