HBPD offers a look behind the badge


Residents curious about what goes on behind the black-and-white patrol car can now get a hands-on law enforcement experience with the Huntington Beach Police Department.

It is offering its 11-week Citizen’s Academy, which offers a glimpse into police operations.

“They actually get to see how the police department functions,” said Officer Rich Eidlhuber, who runs the course. “There’s more to it than that patrol car they see driving around.”

After graduating 30 classes from the academy, the course was cancelled in 2009 because of budget constraints, Eidlhuber said.

The program is back and the department is soliciting recruits.

The Citizen’s Academy includes tours of the department and city jail, and presentations from various divisions including SWAT, K-9, Narcotics and Computer Crimes.

The course goes beyond the classroom, too.

Academy students go on two ride-alongs with officers, and learn protocol for felony car stops and domestic violence calls, Eidlhuber said.

“We try to build them up to what the police work entails, and then we put them out there in those situations and see how they react,” he said.

After studying the many scenarios officers face in the field, participants will take on a deadly force drill.

Armed with guns loaded with soap-tipped bullets, students will be faced with a decision: to shoot or not to shoot.

“They get to go through a couple scenarios like this so they can get a better understanding of what it takes to make the split-second decision on whether to shoot somebody,” Eidlhuber said.

Overall, the class is intended to answer citizens’ questions about law enforcement while exposing them to the many facets of the Huntington Beach Police Department, Eidlhuber said.

“It seems to be a real eye-opener for them,” he said.

The academy runs Aug. 27 to Nov. 5, and is open to those who live or work in Huntington Beach. You can download an application here.

This class will be held on Wednesdays from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm.

Participants must be at least 18 years old and agree to a basic background check.

To sign up contact Eidlhuber at 714-375-5140 or reidlhuber@hbpd.org.