The fourth New Albany Citizens Police Academy will include a course on identifying common street drugs.

The fourth New Albany Citizens Police Academy will include a course on identifying common street drugs.

"We'll show them cocaine and marijuana, talk about the effects, what it looks like and how it's packaged," said New Albany Police Sgt. Ed Burton. "It was a request from students last year because kids might have it and they don't know what it looks like."

The eight-week academy is free and open to any community member who is at least 18 years old. The classes will meet on Wednesdays from Jan. 23 to March 13, with each night devoted to a different topic.

Community members interested in attending should contact Burton at 614-855-1234 or visit All courses begin at 7 p.m. at the New Albany Police Department, 50 Village Hall Road.

"The academy introduces people to the values and philosophies we use in operating our police department," Burton said. "They get to see why we act, how we act and how we run our department. It's a way of getting the community involved in law enforcement and gives us the opportunity to explain how we do things and why we do things the way we do."

Burton said the first class will be taught by Chief Mark Chaney, who will conduct a tour of the police building, including the jail. Sgt. Mark Anderson also will show class members a cruiser and explain how each tool in the police car is used.

All of the classes are taught by local police officers, many of whom are certified teachers and teach classes at Columbus State Community College, Burton said.

The officers will be aided this year by academy alumni. An academy alumni group was formed after last year's academy.

The following topics will be covered in this year's academy:

* Laws of arrest and search and seizure, taught by Officer Joe Duff.

* Traffic law enforcement, taught by Officer Kris Daniels.

* 911 dispatching, taught by dispatcher Mary Ham.

* Crime scene investigation, taught by Detective Jeff Wall. Burton said Wall will set up a mock crime scene in the police department, complete with fingerprints, and teach students how to gather evidence.

* Canine policing, taught by Officer Joel Strahler.

* Community policing, taught by Officer Ryan Southers.

* When to shoot, taught by Sgt. Greg Jones. Burton said Jones will set up scenarios for the students to complete with airsoft pistols.

"They really enjoy that," Burton said. "It gets their adrenaline flowing and they actually get to see how to make those decisions. They learn we have to make split-second decisions."

* Operating a motor vehicle under the influence, taught by Duff.

* Street drug identification, taught by Officer Leland Kelly.

Burton said students are given the option to ride eight hours with an on-duty officer. Though the ride is not a mandatory part of the class, Burton said, most students choose to do it.

Students who complete academy courses will be given a certificate during their last class.