ALBANY -- Learning about police work from the inside out inspired respect, camaraderie and a positive feeling for police work in the 30 newest members of the Albany Police Department's Citizen's Police Academy Tuesday night.
The graduates also said they thought the 12-week experience should continue as they returned to their neighborhoods from the 21st class graduation at the downtown Law Enforcement Center on Oglethorpe Boulevard.
"This was a good class. For 31 people to make it through and come out as brothers and sisters wasn't easy," said John Jackson, 70. "Now we have the eyes and ears to do the right thing. If you see something happening, don't overlook it. Report anything wrong to the police."
That was the message Albany City Manager Alfred Lott emphasized when he spoke to the class.
Although the lessons learned are valuable, Lott said it isn't enough to have learned about police work and to have acquired respect for the department. He encouraged class members to get out in their neighborhoods and put their classwork to use.
"You have to use what you have learned about organization and what to do about crime," Lott said. "You have to become leaders and organize watches in your neighborhood. Be good neighbors and when you see something suspicious, call the police. If a group doesn't belong in your neighborhood, call the police."
Many students found their appreciation and respect for police deepened.
"I really didn't know what went on in police work until I took this class," Helen Green said. "Now I know what the police do, and I can respect them more."