The Leon County Sheriff's Office is urging citizens to sign up to be a part of the 32nd class of its Citizen's Academy.
The Leon County Sheriff's Office Citizen's Academy is designed to promote understanding between the Sheriff's Office and the citizens of Leon County.
Lt. Nancy Burns, an Academy coordinator, said the Citizen’s Academy introduces the public to the life of a police officer.
“We all have perceptions of the way things are,” Burns said. “What we think law enforcement is like. This is a way to educate the public as to exactly what we do and why we do.”
Participants meet one evening a week for 10 weeks on the Tuesday of each week. Classes will begin on Feb. 10 and close with a graduation/dinner on April 14. All sessions will be held from 6:30 p.m. and end at 9:30 p.m.
Citizens will be educated in all sides of law enforcement ranging from traffic enforcement to SWAT and administration to criminal law. The academy also includes tours of the jail and courthouse along with a day spent on duty with an officer.
“I’m interested just because I don’t what field I want to go into,” said Patrick Gayle, a recent Criminal Justice graduate. It’s a lot of different roads I can take and this might help me get a better idea.”
The academy makes an effort to keep citizens entertained with a Wednesday night show that includes Bomb/SWAT team demonstrations, helicopters, and the supervised use of high-powered weapons by the citizens themselves.
“Your ride along is always going to be interesting because you never know where you’re going to go,” Burnes said. “Or what you’re going to see.”
The goal of the academy is to build an appreciation for the difficult challenges a sheriff faces every day. Community involvement is a key role in law enforcement’s fight against crime.
“I think it works to be honest,” Deputy Tim Randolph said. “I’ve meet people who left with more knowledge they came in with and that’s the goal.”
Anyone who wants to attend must be at least 21 years old and submit to a criminal background check. You must also live in the Tallahassee/Leon County area and be able to commit to attending all classes.
To apply print out an application from the Leon County Sheriff's Office website or pick one up on site and return it to the office.