Cop for a day: Folsom Police Department opens doors

Community members tour station and see demonstrations
By: Margaret Snider, Telegraph Correspondent
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“We’re having a lot of people coming through and we’re excited to show you everything we have,” said Folsom Chief of Police Cynthia Renaud at the Folsom Police Department’s Open House on October 1st. “I think you’re going to like it.” The tour started out in Renaud’s office, where she described some of her qualifications, including 20 years in Long Beach, where she left as a commander, her graduate degree in National Security Studies at the Naval Postgraduate School, and three months at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va. The most common crimes in Folsom are property crimes, both residential and from vehicles, she said. “We could knock out probably 90 percent if we could get a message out to people not to leave things in plain view in their cars,” Renaud said. Visitors were guided through the building by trained volunteers, who each put in at least 10 to 12 hours each month. “It seems a lot bigger on the inside than it does on the out,” said Chase Thompson, 16, who took the tour. At each station visitors were shown and told something about the particular area or department. Officer Bill Bradshaw demonstrated the BMW R1200 motorcycle he uses in his work in the traffic bureau, taking it through the cones in a tight pattern. Each of the traffic officers goes through motor school. “We have to be able to take some risks that maybe another motorcycle rider wouldn’t want to do,” Bradshaw said. “Because that’s public safety in a nutshell.” For many visitors, the K-9 demonstration was their favorite. “We’ve gone to dog trials for years, and I love watching them work,” said Ken Thompson of Folsom. “They have so much fun.” Officer Todd Laraway demonstrated his work with K-9 partner Paska. A fellow officer took the role of a fleeing criminal, and at Laraway’s direction the dog tore after him, grabbed the padded arm and clamped on until recalled. The dog is from Germany. “When he comes over, we train for about four months nonstop and then he gets certified and we hit the streets,” Laraway said. “Then we train four hours a week, every single week.” Tim Wilson of Folsom liked the description of the investigations process best. “(I liked) the way they’re attacking problems, different angles and all that,” he said. “To know that some of the problems are being attacked, there’s investigation going on in some of the problems in our community.” The evidence room was also shown, closely monitored with mounted video cameras. Officials said there are extensive procedures involved in logging in and storing evidence of all kinds, whether money, body fluids, narcotics, guns, tapes, or electronic equipment. “(Cynthia Renaud) is very committed, very serious,” said Folsom resident Joann Wilson. “It seems like a well-run team, everyone’s complementing each other. You can tell they all work well together.” The tour ended with the SWAT team where weapons and equipment were on display. Adam Hillman, 11, and Spenser Heichlinger, 12, were there after baseball practice. Adam’s father is a commander. “It’s pretty hard to find your way around, but you get used to it after a while and there’s some pretty cool stuff in here,” Adam said. Spenser said his father is a sergeant detective. “I’ve always lived in Folsom,” Spenser said. “Now I know pretty much all the cops and I can just walk around and I can say ‘Hey’ and they’ll know who I am.” Megan McClure was there with her 5-year-old daughter Sienna Cotton. “She got to see what nice, friendly people all of them are,” McClure said. “I was also impressed that the police chief is a woman and I thought it was a wonderful example for her to see what women can achieve.”