The program, which spans 11 weeks, consists of Tuesday classes and one Saturday class where residents get a firsthand glimpse of the Henry County Police Department.
Residents 18 and older can participate in the free program. The average class size is between 30 to 35 people, ranging in age.
Sgt. Jason Duffey, who is involved with the program, said participation has peaked because of citizen curiosity.
“This is our fifth year,” he said. “People who live in the community take an interest in their community. I believe the main reason is because they get an insight on crimes and any type of accident.”
Each class period is from 6 to 8 p.m. and features instruction on crime prevention and community based policing on drugs, gangs, traffic enforcement investigations and a tour of the county jail as well as being taken on ride alongs.
Firearms safety and the law is also a topic of discussion.
“We also take them to the range,” said Duffey. “That is a big thing. [Residents] like to come out and learn how to shoot from us.”
The end result, according to Duffey, is a more informed, enlightened and understanding group of citizens.
“We deal with a lot of negativity which is why our demeanor is so stern,” said Duffey. “[At the end of the program], they have a better understanding and a lot more respect for what we do. They also get more information on how to be more observant on the info they give to us in the case of an emergency.”
Currently, the spring session of the police academy, which begins March 5 and runs through May 14, is full. Applications are being accepted for the fall session, Sept. 10 through Nov. 19.
In order to be eligible to apply for the academy, residents must live and work in Henry County, have no prior felony arrests and have no misdemeanor arrests within six months of the application.
Applications can be downloaded and printed from www.co.henry.ga.us/police/citizenspoliceacademy.html and returned in person at 108 S. Zack Hinton Pkwy. in McDonough.
Information: (770) 288-8285.