Go to Jail, Get a Cookie

By Dave DeLuca

photo credit Stacy MellemThe Benton County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) wants to show you the back of a squad car and the inside of the jail. Would you rather do this the easy way or the hard way?

Sheriff Scott Jackson is inviting the public to attend the 2014 BCSO Citizens’ Academy. Classes will be held on Tuesday evenings from Sept. 2 through Oct. 21, with two Saturday morning field trips on Sept. 13 and Oct. 11. Each session will feature speakers and open discussions about the inner workings of the sheriff’s office. Snacks will be provided.

Topics covered will include patrol, parole and probation, emergency services, jail operations, civilian use of force, crime scene investigation, and much more. Attendees will cruise the Willamette in the sheriff’s patrol boat, tour the Law Enforcement Building, ride in a patrol car at high speeds, and yes, tour the jail.

“The best part of the class is watching participants engage with the deputies,” said Stacy Mellem, policy/accreditation specialist and Citizens’ Academy coordinator. “It’s so important for residents to understand what their sheriff’s office does and why.”

The class is geared toward adults. Applicants under the age of 18 must have signed consent from a parent or legal guardian and must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian during the class.

The academy is free, but space is limited. Applications are available online at www.co.benton.or.us/sheriff or can be picked up in person at the Law Enforcement Building at 180 NW 5th Street in Corvallis. The final day to apply is Friday, Aug. 15. Call 541-766-6858 with additional questions.