FLORENCE — Elaine Augustine said she is particular how she spends her evenings, and she had no regrets after she spent four evenings at the Florence Police Citizens Academy.
“I’m not sorry I went. I enjoyed myself and learned a lot,” said Augustine, a local businesswoman. “It gave me a great appreciation of the individuals who are a part of the department and what they do for us.”
Applications are being accepted through Friday for the 2013 edition of the Florence Police Citizens Academy.
Ricky Sharp, an officer with the department’s community policing division, said the academy is free and available for anyone 18 and older.
Department officials said each applicant must undergo a criminal background check because of some of the sensitive materials used.
“They will basically be learning how the Police Department works,” Sharp said.
Twenty-two people have registered for the program, and he can take a total of 30.
“We have men and women, and a variety of ages from 18- to 20-year-olds to retirement age and everything in between,” Sharp said.
The program, which is four consecutive Thursday evenings at 6 p.m., starts March 7. It began in 1997.
“This is a chance to include the community in on what we are doing,” Police Chief Ron Tyler said. “It lets the public see inside the department.” Tyler said the academy enables the department to build a better relationship with the public.
The program includes classroom work, a ride-along with an officer, and demonstrations from the department’s specialized units such as SWAT, K-9 and explosive devices.
Augustine recommends the program. “In fact, I’ve signed up to take it again,” she said.
Applications are available at the Police Department on Seminary Street or call 256-768-2728.
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.
Want to go?
What: Florence Police Citizens Academy.
When: 6-9 p.m., Thursdays, beginning March 7.
Where: Florence Police Department and Florence Training Center.
Details: Applications are available at the Police Department. There is no cost.