Next CBP citizens academy full; future classes being planned

Published on Wed, May 9, 2012 by Jeremy Schwartz

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Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials are planning subsequent citizens academies after the first one quickly filled up.

The second citizens academy will start May 15 and run to June 26, and Richard Sinks, CBP supervisory officer and Blaine sector community liaison, confirmed the seven-week series of classes is already full. He said 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 academy, though each seven-week course can only take 20 students. 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 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 class start and end times. He said attendees’ reasons for signing up for the classes varied, but stemmed mostly from 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.

“We’re always glad to give 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 more information on the classes, contact Sinks at 332-9255 or blwbordercommunityliaison@cbp.dhs.gov. 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.