Grove City police will offer its Citizens Police Academy starting March 15.

Grove City police will offer its Citizens Police Academy starting March 15.

The Citizens Police Academy is an extension of the city's Police Community Partnership. The interactive classes and curriculum are designed to give participants an understanding of police operations and procedures, including arrests, criminal and traffic law and investigations, search and seizure and crime prevention.

The free 10-week class will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursdays and is open to Grove City residents age 21 and over.

This is the second time Grove City has offered the class, said Sgt. Rick Hardy. Last year, 10 people graduated. The class included men and women from ages 25 to 70. A retired librarian and school teacher, a college student and an auto mechanic were some of the various individuals who participated.

The participants had an interest in learning what law enforcement is really about, Hardy said.

"It's not "Cops" on Fox and those other shows," Hardy said, describing common misconceptions. "We want to try and correct those."

One of the city's sergeants noticed other police departments holding a police academy as a community outreach program, and decided to bring the idea to Grove City.

"It just took off from there," Hardy said.

Police officers provide the instruction, which is funded by the department. The first class is an introduction to the police department's organization, policies and mission. The second class covers arrests and search and seizure laws.

The third class includes community services, such as crime prevention. The fourth class includes patrol operations and safety issues. Students are shown a simulated traffic stop.

Grove City resident Sam Clark was a member of last year's first class. He and other graduates formed the Grove City Police Department Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association, of which he is president. The nine-member group provides community support for the police department.

Clark said he signed up for the class to learn more about the department. Through the class, he participated in shooting practice using rubber bullets. He also learned about the department's special response team. The technological advances surprised him.

"The things they can do are amazing," he said.

Applications will be taken until March 8. The class has 15 seats available and is about half full, Hardy said. Those who would like more information can contact Hardy at (614) 277-1740 or visit www.grovecityohio.gov.