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6:53 PM · Jun 14, 2019

My Experience in the Roseburg Citizen Police Academy Last night we had our completion ceremony for the Roseburg Citizen Police Academy. It was a joint operation between Roseburg Police, Douglas County Sheriff's Office and Oregon State Police. During the 12 week class, we would meet each Thursday night for 3 hrs where we learned how all our local and state law enforcement agencies work together to help our community. A few of my takeaways. I think everyone that cares about the community and is interested in helping solve local problems should take this class. The sessions and talks shed so much light on the reasons behind why things are happening and what law enforcement can and can’t do to help deal with situations. The short answer is things are much more complicated than people understand and without a proper understanding, one cannot contribute much towards solutions. We all need to be better educated when it comes to law enforcement, the criminal justice system and the problems our community are facing. I learned a lot about how Roseburg Police and the Douglas County Sheriff’s office work together. Both need to be healthy to succeed. They constantly are supporting each other and working together as criminals flow back and forth between the City of Roseburg and out into Douglas County. If either becomes weaker, both will suffer. Right now because of budget issues, the Sheriffs office just had to make a round of layoffs and not fill some positions. Everyone is going to feel the effect of those cuts, and things are only set to get worse if we don’t figure out how to fully fund our Sheriffs office. It’s probably going to take a public safety levy to do it, and in my opinion, it’s essential for the well being of not just Roseburg, but the entire County. I learned the value of spending time getting to know our local law enforcement officers. Law enforcement is an often demonized profession in our culture and I think it’s half is because people have no idea how difficult the job has become. The other half is because we allow media narratives and caricatures to form our view of these officers instead of getting to know them ourselves. They’re good people, with kids and families that live in the community and they are neighbors, coaches and volunteers just like everyone else. They are just as frustrated or more frustrated with the problems in Roseburg as everyone else. The public looks upon them as the solution to most of our problems, so they go to work with that on their shoulders and they simply can’t be the solution to all our problems. They are a very helpful part, but real solutions are going to require everyone in the community working together. I want to thank Andrea Zielinski for helping put this incredible class together, which incidentally is going to be her last class. Recent budgets cuts have resulted in her extremely valuable position at the Sheriffs office being eliminated. Like I said at the commissioners meeting, positions like Andreas's which help bridge the gap between the community and law enforcement are more valuable and needed than ever before. Communities should be adding these positions, not taking them away. Also I would like to thank Police Chief Gary Klopfenstein and Sgt. Jeff Eichenbusch, Sheriff John Hanlin and Undersheriff Jeff Frieze as well as all the officers that spoke including our local DA’s office. Too many people to thank. It was an incredible experience and I highly recommend signing up for next years class!