Some community members are getting a behind-the-scenes look at Albemarle County police operations over the next couple months.
The department kicked off its Citizen’s Police Academy Tuesday night, giving both officers and civilians a chance to better help each other. Albemarle police are offering this opportunity for the first time since 2008.
Fourteen students make up the incoming class. Among them is Jim Crosby, who is already an insider at the Albemarle County Police Department.
“I'm a volunteer and I give the Police Department a few hours a week to do administrative-type tasks,” Crosby said.
But he says he's about to get an outsider's perspective of the operation.
“It's known that if you feel comfortable with a police officer, the working relationship is much, much better,” Crosby said.
Crosby and his wife both toured the facility Tuesday night as members of this year's Citizen's Police Academy.
“It was one of those programs that got slashed during the recession and now we're happy that it's been rejuvenated,” said Albemarle County Police Department Officer Tim Aylor.
Over the next eight weeks, the 14 students will get an in-depth look at the agency.
“We expect lots of questions. We consider this to be their police academy as citizens and taxpayers of Albemarle County,” Aylor said.
Different officers are scheduled each week to hold informative and interactive sessions, including a K-9 unit simulation, a forensics demonstration and a firearms exercise.
“Oh I want to shoot. Yeah I'm looking for the firearms session,” Crosby said.
The department says the academy is helpful in making sure they are doing the best job they can.
“They are our customers and we want excellent customer service and we listen to their input to do the job better,” Aylor said.
The class will meet every Tuesday for the next eight weeks, ending the first week of May.