The Dawson County Sheriff's Office is accepting applications for its annual Citizens Law Enforcement Academy.
Designed to give residents an inside look at how local law enforcement operates, the free, five-week course begins Feb. 9 with an introduction by Sheriff Billy Carlisle and his administrative staff.
The following weeks will include crime scene investigations, weapon simulator activities, an overview of the department's uniform patrol division and demonstrations by the sheriff's special response team.
"Some of the classes are primarily information about what we do, but some of the classes are hands-on, like setting up a mock crime scene to show them how investigators have to think to solve the crimes and that it's not like CSI on TV," said coordinator Capt. Tony Wooten.
Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the jail and ride along with trained patrol officers on their daily duties.
An optional Saturday class that will focus on firearm training will also be available.
"Being able to go out and have a handguns class has been a huge success for us in our Citizens Law Enforcement Academy," Wooten said.
Now in its 12th year, Carlisle said he started the program to give the community a better understanding of the job of a law enforcement officer.
"The idea goes back to when I was a patrol officer working the streets," he said. "Once I became elected, we began offering the citizens law enforcement academy to teach the citizens of this county how we operate, who works in the sheriff's office, what kind of job we do and what it takes for us to do our job."
The course is open to Dawson County residents 18 years and older.
For more information or to register for the course, call Wooten at (706) 344-3535.