The Westerville Division of Police is preparing for the next session of its citizens police academy, to begin Feb. 28.

Acting police Chief Charles Chandler said the 13-week program is a great introduction to the department.

“It gives them (participants) a better understanding of what police officers do,” he said.

Law enforcement officers teach the classes and the curriculum is regularly reviewed so residents are taught updated procedures. He said the program goes over difficult situations as well as the basics, such as domestic-violence situations and other events officers commonly deal with on the job.

Recently, he said the classes have been updated to cover crisis intervention and how officers deal with those who have special needs during traffic stops. The sessions are held from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Thursdays at the Division of Police headquarters training room, 29 S. State St.

Christa Dickey, spokeswoman for the city, said all graduates of the program can become a member of the Westerville Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association.

Dickey said the organization has about 140 members and they volunteer at various events supporting police.

There is no fee to enroll, although both Chandler and Dickey said the program usually has a wait list every year. Those who are interested can fill out an application online or call police officer John Jefferies at 614-907-6472.

The police academy has been occurring every year since 1999, Chandler said.

To fill out an application, visit https://bit.ly/2EhjLhR.

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@ThisWeekOlivia