Powell residents will have the opportunity to join the ranks of the police department this fall when officers host the fifth Powell Citizens Police Academy.
For 10 weeks beginning Wednesday, Sept. 11, officers will cater to curious residents by explaining and demonstrating crime prevention and awareness, firearms safety, constitutional law, use of force, crime-scene investigation and more.
"The academy provides a great opportunity to see how the police department serves the citizens of Powell and helps us create a stronger relationship with the community," said Sgt. Scott Roach, who heads the academy.
Officers will take students to the shooting range, simulate a traffic stop and even let them sit shotgun for a ride-along.
All the lessons during the weekly classes, which will run from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesdays, include a mix of lectures and hands-on activities that will no doubt debunk some myths about the profession.
"Our family likes to watch Law and Order: SVU and Castle and all those shows, so I was interested to find out what real police do," said Mike Falk of why he joined the academy in early 2010.
Falk said the participatory nature of the class kept him engaged through every lesson, especially during the session on how to protect yourself and others from becoming the victim of a crime such as home invasion or theft.
"I learned so much more than I even thought I was going to," Falk said. "We had speakers from the Delaware County Prosecutor's Office, an FBI spokesperson and a deputy sheriff, so the topics just changed up so much that I found it really held my interest and I was sorry to see it was over."
Once the academy comes to an end, graduates are invited to join the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association.
Like Falk, graduates Lisa and Bob Grubel got involved with the association to give back to the officers that taught them so much in the free class.
"(The academy) really raised my awareness and respect for the police department," Lisa Grubel said.
"We wanted to stay involved and joining the alumni group was a good way to maintain a connection with police department and volunteer in the community," she said.
In addition to volunteering at community events such as the Powell Fest, community bonfire and Candy by the Carload, alumni raised more than $20,000 that the department will use to purchase a dog for its first K-9 unit.
Roach said there is room in this season's class for just 14 residents, ages 21 and older. To register for the academy, call Roach at 614-885-5005 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.