Fortuna police enlist aid of junior detectives in weekly class

Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer

Beacon Correspondent

The Fortuna Police Department is holding a junior detective class as part of an after school enrichment program at Redwood Preparatory Charter School in Fortuna.

Fortuna Police Department's Sgt. Charles Ellebrecht and Community Services Officer Dawn Dokweiler have been running the class at Redwood Prep on Tuesdays. The class takes just under an hour and has covered many areas of the department.

"We are happy to be able to provide this service to the students," Sgt. Ellebrecht said. "This is a great way to teach them about our role in the community and what we actually do."

When emergencies happen often young children will hide from officers or firefighters and this can prove to be a life-threatening hazard.

FPD is using this opportunity to become acquainted with students and break down any fears, increase knowledge about what officers do, provide extra safety through fingerprinting, and have some fun learning investigative techniques used in the field.

"My son is really enjoying his junior detective class," Gretchen Oliver Woessner said, thanking the FPD.

This week, the junior detectives lifted their own fingerprints off of a bowl and discussed how they are different from other students.

"The kids are ecstatic," said Lisa Jager of Redwood Prep. "This is a great way for the kids to understand the important role the police play in the community's overall safety. It helps for them to see FPD in a different light and for the FPD to be building relationships through community service."

This is not the first time FPD has stepped up to provide an educational environment surrounding the role of a police department.

During the year at many community events you can find the FPD and other local law enforcement agencies on hand to give tours of their response vehicles.

South Fortuna Elementary for years past would have a police car at their annual carnival. Long lines filled the playground as friends and families eagerly awaited their turn to sit up front or even jokingly in the back.

Photo by Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer/Beacon

Fortuna Police Department Sgt. Charles Ellebrecht works with the junior detective enrichment class from Redwood Preparatory Charter School as students dust and lift their own fingerprints. Ellebrecht and Community Services Officer Dawn Dokweiler are spending about an hour on Tuesdays with the young detectives, teaching them many aspects of their profession.