The Dublin Police Department is offering area youth a chance to get a closer look at law enforcement than they can find on TV.

The Dublin Police Department is offering area youth a chance to get a closer look at law enforcement than they can find on TV.

The six-week Dublin Police Youth Academy that begins Oct. 22 is currently taking applications to offer youth ages 11-17 a glimpse inside the world of law enforcement.

"We give these young folks an introduction to what the world of law enforcement is all about," Sgt. Rod Barnes said. "We couple it with lessons on good citizenship and our core values as police officers."

The program is free and runs from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursdays through Dec. 10. Barnes said he isn't sure when the program began, but said it has been going for at least 10 years.

During the sessions, the students will learn about the job of police officers, although Barnes said they focus on the more interesting aspects such as police canines, crime scene practices and traffic crashes.

"We show them the interesting aspects and technologies and tools that we use," he said. "We try to incorporate a fair amount of hands-on things. We show them parts of a self-defense training we give officers. We have the police canine do a demonstration of skills and tactics they use on the street."

The academy will also get into more meaningful discussions.

"In the midst of that we also have discussions on the foundation of law enforcement and talk about things such as the chaos theory and John Locke and why we have police in society," Barnes said. "We try to boil down the larger concepts of why we have police."

Despite a few heavy discussion topics, Barnes said one goal of the academy is to have fun.

"We're not trying to indoctrinate them or make them into little police officers," he said. "Really the main objective is to have fun."

Some youth come because of an interest in the law enforcement field and some just come out of curiosity, Barnes said.

"We don't do formal tracking (of the academy students), but I know for a fact we have had youth that did the academy come here to intern," he said.

The program is open to youth outside of Dublin and Barnes said the academy gives the students a chance to meet new people. The class size is limited to 35. Sometimes there's a waiting list, Barnes said.

The academy will run from 7-9 p.m. Oct. 22 and 29, Nov. 5, 12 and 19 and Dec. 3 and 10. A graduation ceremony will be held for the students on Dec. 10.

Applications for the academy can be found online at dublin. oh.us and are due on Oct. 5.