Davis residents will soon have a chance to learn the ins and outs of local government and police services.
Yolo County 101 Resident’s Academy, an annual series of classes that addresses local issues, will be hosted by the Yolo County Human Resources Department. These free sessions will be held on Wednesdays from Feb. 16 to April 6 at the Yolo County Board Administration Building in Woodland.
“The sessions are there to provide an education for residents and employees about county government,” said Margaret Raley, executive assistant of Yolo County Department of Human Resources. “We will give information on the services [the county] provides and teach residents about where their money is going.”
Topics that will be covered during these sessions include legal and fiscal processes, social services, public housing, tribal relations and public health. There will also be an overview on the structure and function of county government.
Department chairs and other county experts will facilitate these sessions. Each two-hour session will start with a presentation, followed by a question-and-answer segment.
“I will be giving an overview of the department and then have my managers talk about their programs,” said director Pam Miller, of the Yolo County Department of Employment and Social Services. “We will be talking about programs like CalWORKS, the one-stop employment center, protective services and in-home supportive services.”
Current events will also be a focus of the series. During the height of the H1N1 scare, the public health officer facilitated a session to answer questions from residents.
“Experts in water resources will be brought this year to speak about water and flood issues, which has been a concern for our residents,” Raley said. “Attendees can get their questions answered about the things they have seen in the media.”
Residents can sign up to attend these classes through the Yolo County website. The deadline to reserve a seat is Feb. 7.
Yolo County 101 is usually well-attended, Raley said. There are approximately 40 residents who sign up for the series every year.
“We get a pretty good representation of Yolo County,” Miller said. “I’ve even seen some county employees come to see what the other agencies do.”
Several attendees come back to these sessions every year.
Gordon Lane, a realtor for Keller Williams Realty, attended Yolo County 101 in 2008 and 2009. His family has owned farmland in the county for 130 years, and he currently resides in Woodland. Lane is planning to attend this year’s sessions.
“The people who do the presentations have done an outstanding job. It’s a great way to learn what is going on in county government and an opportunity to meet some of the people involved,” Lane said.
Residents who sign up are not obligated to attend all eight sessions.
“We have [residents] who pick and choose which topics they’re interested in, and they just attend those sessions,” Raley said.
Lane attended the sessions on county government overview, land use and general planning, water and flood issues and parks and landfill issues.
“I think I’ve missed tribal relations and public housing both times. I definitely want to attend the tribal relations session this time, [but I’m] not as interested in the public housing [session],” Lane said.
While there are a variety of residents who attend Yolo County 101, one demographic that is missed every year is college students.
“We have had some UC Davis employees attend in the past,” Raley said. “But I don’t know if there have been any UC Davis students. We would love to have political science majors attend.”
While the series is primarily focused on Yolo County, students can still apply the information gained from these sessions to their own counties.
“The structure of government may be different for other counties, but [mandated] programs are the same,” Miller said.
Another local series that is open to students of all interests is the Citizen Police Academy, which is held by the Davis Police Department.
The Citizen Police Academy is free for all residents who want to learn more about the workings of the police department. These sessions will be held on Tuesday evenings from Feb. 8 to March 22. Residents can apply for these classes on the Davis Police Department website.
SARAHNI PECSON can be reached at email@example.com.