The Plumas County Sheriff is broadening his department’s horizons. In a venture with Feather River College, he is offering more peace officer education opportunities and a way to stimulate the local economy.
After five years of working on the plan, Sheriff Greg Hagwood reported Feb. 27 that classes for peace officers are scheduled to begin this fall.
Deputy Ed Obayashi, who is also an attorney, is making these classes possible.
POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) has already approved some of the advanced courses, according to Obayashi, and others have been sent to POST for further approval.
At this stage five classes have met with full approval, said Dr. Derek Lerch, chief instructional officer at FRC.
Detailed information on each class must be sent through the regular curriculum process with the state Chancellor’s Office, Lerch said. It’s his understanding that the classes also meet POST curriculum criteria.
The five classes that have been fully approved include use of force, report writing, how to handle domestic violence situations, workplace harassment and internal affairs reporting, according to Lerch.
Other classes Obayashi hopes to offer include POST-approved racial profiling, the social media and how to testify in court, among other possibilities.
The laws are always changing on these kinds of classes, so peace officers also have to keep up to date, he explained.
Class sections range from two to four hour sessions up to three days for 24 hours of class time, Obayashi explained.
Although Obayashi intends to teach most of the classes, he may include guest experts and others.
Classes will be open to local peace officers, but also to all those in counties along the “eastern slope of the Sierra all the way to the Oregon border,” Hagwood explained.
But this doesn’t exclude other peace officers in California who are interested in attending POST training in the mountains, FRC students and local residents interested in a particular topic.
And the classes are free or there’s a nominal charge, according to Obayashi. FRC has already set prices for students enrolled on campus. “I’m already getting paid,” he said about his job as a deputy sheriff, therefore he isn’t adding to class expenses with an additional salary request.
Although Lerch said they’re still firming up some of the details in the seminar agreement required by FRC, Hagwood is enthusiastic to be able to offer classes at the college in Quincy, as well as in Chester and eastern Plumas.
Classes could be offered at the Rose Quartz Inn in Chester and at Nakoma. Both offer conference areas large enough to host classes.
Whether classes are offered at FRC or elsewhere in the county, Hagwood said that participants would be eating at local restaurants and using local places to stay.
“I’m thrilled with the partnership with FRC,” Hagwood said.
Obayashi has been providing special advanced peace officer classes for sheriff’s officers for about the last six years, Hagwood said. Every two years sworn peace officers are required to attend classes to keep their knowledge up to date and to attain required credits.
Hagwood said he was initially interested in finding classes for his officers that negated the need to travel. Most classes are held in Sacramento so that means travel time, plus lodging and food. His people are also not available during those times to handle county needs. Rural counties suffer from this need, he said about past experiences.
“Ed Obayashi is an incredible resource,” said Hagwood.
Not only is Obayashi qualified to teach POST classes, he’s available to answer questions about the law, Hagwood said, about legal issues and technical issues.
Obayashi qualified for the California State Bar in June 2000.
The department hired Obayashi — already familiar with Plumas County through his association with the sheriff’s office — 18 months ago. His title is deputy sheriff and policy advisor. He also has Edward Obayashi Law Office.
Obayashi is qualified to teach a wide range of classes through the California Commission on POST. His specialties are use of force and internal affairs.
Obayashi is not only nationally known, but internationally, Hagwood said.
Obayashi said he’s worked at several sheriffs’ departments, but he liked Plumas County. When Hagwood was able to offer him a position he was interested in it immediately.