Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials are planning subsequent citizens’ academies after the one scheduled to start May 15 has already filled up.
The next citizens' academy will start May 15 and run to June 26, but Richard Sinks, CBP supervisory officer and Blaine sector community liaison, has confirmed the seven-week string of classes is already full. Sinks said CBP officials are planning another academy for the Olympic Peninsula and possibly a third for Whatcom County, both before the end of the year.
To date, 65 people have signed up for the citizens’ academy, though each seven-week course can only take between 18 and 20 students, Sinks explained. However, those interested in attending a future class should still get in touch with Sinks so CBP officials can gauge how many more classes to organize.
“The sooner people notify me, the sooner they have a chance to get in,” Sinks said.
Academy attendees will learn about all three branches of the CBP: the Border Patrol, which operates between border crossings; the Office of Field Operations, which operates at the border crossings; and the Office of Air and Marine, which performs air- and sea-born operations. Sinks said each class will focus on one aspect of CBP, and the seven-week course will culminate with a review, test of attendees’ knowledge and graduation ceremony.
Sinks said resident feedback on the first academy, which ran from January 30 to March 12, was generally positive, with many suggestions concerning the classes' start and end times. He said attendees’ reasons for signing up for the classes varied, but stemmed mostly from both a general curiosity about how CBP operates and interests in future employment.
Invariably, some class attendees wanted to discuss various complaints they had with CBP operations, and Sinks said agents teaching the classes were more than happy to provide clarifying or explanatory information in those instances. However, agents avoided addressing specific cases or policy issues.
“We’re always glad to get feedback as far as complaints or other things [the public has] questions about,” Sinks said. “The main thing is we don’t spend time debating public policy.”
For for more information on the course, contact Sinks at 360/332-9255 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To download an application for the academy, click here. Interested residents will be put on a first come, first served waiting list for future academies and must undergo a limited background check prior to being selected.