Osage, Washington sheriffs make plans for citizen academy

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

The sheriffs of Osage and Washington counties plan to hold a citizen training academy to provide residents with information and instruction necessary to respond to emergency conditions on their own until first responders can arrive.

Osage County Sheriff Eddie Virden and Washington County Sheriff Scott Owen held a brainstorming session Sept. 29 at the training center behind the Osage County Sheriff's Office/Jail complex. Virden and Owen talked about reaching out to prosecutors, judges and legislators regarding potential appearances at the academy.

This will be a free academy, with instructors donating their time, Virden said. The only expense for participants will be providing their own weapons and ammunition for a firing range activity, he said.

The sheriffs are looking at holding classes from 6-9 p.m. Tuesdays, beginning Oct. 27 and finishing no later than Dec. 15. They are interested in attracting as many as 75 participants -- some from each county.

Virden said he hopes to help residents become better educated and aware of the best tactics to use in defending themselves. He also expressed an interest in having paramedics and firefighters provide instruction. Other topics he mentioned included tornado safety instruction, and veterinary instruction regarding first aid for animals.

Owen said some deputies have expressed interest in serving as instructors for the academy. He and Virden agreed to check on the availability of facilities and instructors and make additional announcements about class dates and details.

Owen mentioned firearms safety, and instruction regarding citizen interaction with law enforcement, as topics that need to be covered.

Anyone interested in participating should contact the Osage County Sheriff's Office at 918-287-3535, or the Washington County Sheriff's Office at 918-337-2800.

Virden said he had already received expressions of interest from Osage County residents about a possible citizen academy. He said that he will be checking on the availability of facilities at the Osage County Fairgrounds for citizen academy classes.

This is a citizen academy, not a reserve deputy academy. Virden said he is looking at having a reserve deputy academy next February.

Virden said Monday that he and Owen are in the process of locating instructors and encouraging residents to sign up.