Learning in the police academy

For 19-year-old Caitlin Bogdin, getting involved with law enforcement was an easy decision.

Being behind a badge is like being in the family business, she said about relatives in Utah involved with a jail and another with a K-9 unit.

Bogdin hopes to someday be a state trooper.

"First and foremost, they have the nicest cars," she said. "And they're involved in the whole state, not just one little part."

On Thursday night, she and 12 others attended the first session of the Craig Police Department's citizen police academy at the Moffat County Public Safety Center.

Bogdin said participating in the police academy will help her in a number of ways.

"I think it will be good - it will give us lots of hands-on experience," she said. "We'll get a chance to see everything they do up close."

Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta, who instructs the academy, said it allows citizens a firsthand view of how police operate.

"It offers citizens a chance to do all the things we do as police officers," Vanatta said. "One night a week for 10 weeks, we'll be discussing something different about being a police officer."

Those week-to-week lessons can range from strategic planning to using firearms.

"A big part is the nature of police work and how it has migrated over the last 39 years," Vanatta said. "We also look at diversity and how the population has changed over the years, and we'll look at the criminal justice system and how law enforcement fits in to that."

During the academy's first installment Thursday night, residents learned about the administrative side of police work.

Claudia Cruz, 18, said that the classes would help her as she plans for her future.

"I am thinking about going into law enforcement after I graduate," said Cruz, adding she wasn't sure what type of law enforcement she would pursue.

"I think this class will help. We get to do everything the cops go through and get to see everything they do. I think this will be a good experience."

Liane Davis-Kling, who teaches government at Moffat County High School and has had Bogdin and Cruz in her class, said that she wanted to join the academy to help her teach.

"This is a great learning tool for me so when I teach the kids about law and government, I'll know what I'm talking about," Davis-Kling said. "This will help me to better understand what I am teaching. We have law week in May, when cops come in to the classroom, and (by taking the classes) I think I will know a little bit more about what it is they do."

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