Contra Costa DA Press Release: 2024 Community Academy

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Residents of Contra Costa County are invited to engage in a unique, interactive learning experience as the District Attorney’s Office opens applications for the Spring 2024 Community Academy. This educational initiative, which is completely free of charge, kicks off in downtown Martinez and offers a transparent look into the local criminal justice system over a 10-week course.

Sessions will run from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. each Wednesday beginning on February 21, 2024, at the District Attorney’s Office. The Community Academy, first established in 2019, is the brainchild of District Attorney Diana Becton, who envisioned a program centered on openness that would provide citizens an inside view into the functions of various public agencies.

The Academy’s comprehensive curriculum includes presentations from distinguished speakers such as the District Attorney herself, as well as insights from the Public Defender, various Superior Court Judges, line prosecutors, and Police Chiefs. In an exciting development for the upcoming year, college students have been invited to participate in the program, with the additional benefit of earning college credits for their involvement. This presents a fantastic opportunity for young adults to get hands-on experience and deepen their understanding of public service and the legal system.

The role of the District Attorney in enforcing state laws is both complex and significant. Participants in the program will gain in-depth knowledge about the District Attorney’s multifaceted responsibilities. These include overseeing criminal prosecutions on behalf of the state, supervising an office of legal and administrative professionals, reviewing police investigations, making critical charging decisions, preparing for trial, and conducting plea negotiations.

In addition to exploring the core duties of prosecutors, attendees of the Community Academy will also have the unique opportunity to participate in a Superior Court tour conducted by a judge, visit the Martinez Detention Facility, and learn about the various outreach programs the District Attorney’s Office organizes for victims, children, and parents alike.

The Academy is designed to cultivate an informed populace and strengthen community ties to public agencies that are essential to residents’ daily lives. Anyone over the age of 18 who resides or works in Contra Costa County is eligible to apply. To take part in this rare educational opportunity, interested individuals should apply online at no later than January 26th. With spots likely to fill quickly, early application is encouraged.

Danielle Joyce Ong

Danielle is a local journalist with a passion for exploring stories related to crime and politics. When Danielle isn't busy writing or reading, she is usually exploring the great outdoors and all the hiking trails in the Bay.