Seats filling up fast for APD Citizens Academy

ALBANY, Ga. -- Fed up with crime? Want to learn how to make a difference?

On Feb. 1 the Albany Police Department's Citizens Police Academy starts its free 12-week session again. There aren't many seats left for the popular program, but if anyone misses this session their names can be kept to put them at the head of the line for the next session.

The academy is open to anyone above 18 years old and who resides in Albany. The session promises to give a better understanding of crime, the role of police in solving crime and the relationship between police and the community.

Daffamie Johnson, a 2009 citizens academy graduate recommends signing up for the program.

"I took the classes because I wanted to learn how to be a more influential citizen," Johnson said. "I learned we don't chase the bad guys but we (citizens) can act as eyes and ears for the police. I learned how to give a better description of suspicious people to 911."

Participants in the program learn about investigation techniques, gang awareness including signs and clothes, 911 communications and how to properly handle and fire a gun.

According to the academy's space on the city's website, albany.ga.us, there are three objectives for the sessions.

"First, they will provide an understanding of the functions of the police department and how the department interacts within the Criminal Justice System. Secondly, citizens will learn how the Albany Police Department responds to the needs of the community through Community Oriented Policing. Finally, citizens will have "hands-on" training in areas that the police department utilizes in solving crimes."

According to many graduates with the academy's diplomas the serious classes are also fun. Many have said the highlights of the program are experiencing the use of force through the firearms simulator and riding along with an officer in a patrol car.

Preregistration is available on the city's website, albany.ga.us. For more information call the academy coordinator Phyllis Banks at (229) 483-6298 during regular business hours.