Citizens academy goes behind the crimes

District Court taking applications for fall program

Posted 7/31/17

For people with an interest criminal justice and real life versions of television crime shows, District Court has just the thing.

“It’s kind of like a real live CSI,” said District Attorney Dave Young of the Colorado’s 17th Judicial …

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Citizens academy goes behind the crimes

District Court taking applications for fall program

Posted

For people with an interest criminal justice and real life versions of television crime shows, District Court has just the thing.

“It’s kind of like a real live CSI,” said District Attorney Dave Young of the Colorado’s 17th Judicial District, which includes Adams and Broomfield Counties.

His office is taking registration for its fifth annual citizens academy that gives the public an in-depth look at the criminal justice system. Applications to attend are due Sept. 1 and the academy itself begins in September.

“It’s not just about the district attorney’s office, it’s about the criminal justice system,” said Dave Young, district attorney.

The free, eight-week course covers everything from the arrest through sentencing, he said.

Sue Lindsay, public information officer for the district attorney’s office, said it’s a natural progression for anyone who has been through a citizens police academy, but it’s not necessary to take the police academy.

Steven Polutchko went through the district attorney’s citizens academy in 2015. He had previously been through the Broomfield Police Department’s citizens academy.

“My question was, ‘What happens after the arrest?’” Polutchko said.

He said what struck him the most was “the passion that Dave Young brings to the office” along with other members of the district attorney office’s staff.

“The commitment they have to bring justice through is amazing,” Polutchko said.

Polutchko recommends the course. Lindsay said it’s important for the average person to understand how the criminal justice system works.

There is no official cap on the number of participants, but each year the course has between 50 and 60 participants, according to Lindsay. She said there have been participants as young as high school students, but the course does come with a warning that images from a homicide case will be shown. The course ends with a mock trial where the class acts as the jury.

Slow justice

“What you see on television is not real,” Polutchko said. “You don’t solve a homicide because you find a hair and 30 minutes later have a conviction.”

Polutchko said he was also surprised to learn how due process guaranteed by the Constitution is a constant topic.

A recent addition to the class as of last year was a session on officer-involved shootings.

“I think most people are surprised at how quick things happen,” Young said.

Applications to attend the class are available online at at www.adamsbroomfieldda.org and are due Sept. 1.

Lindsay said while there are no residency requirements, preference will be given to those living in Adams and Broomfield counties. Other judicial districts in Colorado do often have similar programs, she said.

The academy will begin Tuesday, Sept. 19, and class will be 6-9 p.m. Tuesdays until Nov. 7, at the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office at 1000 Judicial Center Dr. in Brighton.

“Our students love the program. This is a great opportunity for us to connect with the community and for people to get a deeper understanding of how the criminal justice system really works and the work that we do,” Young said in a press release. “The prosecutors in our office have decades of experience, and we want to share that experience and knowledge so that people have a better understanding of the inner workings of the criminal justice system.”

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