The New Albany Citizens Police Academy has expanded its courses for the second consecutive year.
This year's program will include more extensive education on the types of drugs being confiscated in arrests, New Albany police say.
"Participants get to look at real contraband that we've confiscated and learn how it is ingested," said officer Leland Kelly, who will teach the academy's drug-identification course and leads the New Albany-Plain Local Schools' DARE program. "We also show pictures of things we've taken off the streets. A lot of people have never seen it before, so it's intriguing to them."
Kelly said the police department doubled the academy's street-drug identification course by increasing it to two hours.
"There are trends," Kelly said. "New Albany does not have a huge drug problem. The things we've seen most often lately are prescription pills. That's one of the trends and it's pretty much nationwide."
Kelly said opiates, used in prescription pain killers, are one of the items officers confiscate regularly.
The fifth annual Citizens Police Academy will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays, Jan. 22 to March 12, at the New Albany Police Department, 50 Village Hall Road.
Kelly said the academy is designed to give residents a better understanding of how the police department works by showing them how officers investigate a crime and the process involved in making an arrest.
"Things start to click for people (in the academy)," he said.
Kelly said residents also learn why arrests often are delayed because "it's not as easy as what they see on CSI."
"They begin to comprehend why when they call and they expect results right away that it's not always that simple," he said. "They get to see and comprehend why things take as long as they do."
The academy courses include:
* Introduction and tour of the police facilities and equipment with Chief Greg Jones and Sgt. Ed Burton on Jan. 22.
* Arrests, searches and seizures and associated laws with officer Joe Duff on Jan. 29.
* Traffic laws, the role of the school resource officer and the purpose of Safety Town with Sgt. Kris Daniels on Feb. 5.
* Laws on operating a vehicle under the influence with Duff on Feb. 12. Students will watch people consuming alcohol and learn how quickly their judgment can become impaired.
* Introduction to firearms with officer Joe Catanese, Feb. 19. Students will participate in scenarios that simulate what officers experience in the field and the students will have to decide whether the officer should discharge a weapon.
* Dispatching and crime-scene investigation with dispatcher Mary Ham and officer Joel Wall on Feb. 26.
* Street-drug identification with Kelly on March 5.
* Community policing and the academy alumni program with officer Ryan Southers and academy alumnus Chuck Hassey on March 12. Kelly said graduates of the academy are invited to join the alumni association and work community events with officers.
* Finally, academy participants can schedule a ride-along with working officers between Feb. 27 and March 11.
Registration for the free Citizens Police Academy is available on the website at newalbanyohio.org.
City spokesman Scott McAfee said earlier this week about half the spots in the academy were available. Kelly said academy classes are for 20 to 25 people.
Participants must be at least 18 years old and live in New Albany.