SACO — The Saco Police Department is once again giving the public an opportunity to get a close-up look at the duties of a police officer at its annual Citizen Police Academy.

The free nine-week course begins Feb. 22 and will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays. Students must be at least 18 years old. Priority is given to Saco residents.

Court Officer Tammy-Jo Girard, who is coordinating the class, said police staff volunteer their time to teach the classes, and all instructors have been eager to donate their time. Girard will be teaching a segment on domestic violence.

This year’s syllabus includes a tour of the local jail, classes on animal control, harbor control, crime scene investigation, a mock trial and shooting at the shooting range.

Those who complete the nine-week course can sign up to ride alongside a police officer for four hours.
Girard said students enjoy the academy and the department has received a lot of positive feedback.

“They’re very engaged,” said Girard. “They ask a lot of questions.”

One former student posted a review on the department’s Facebook page, saying that after taking the class he had a greater respect for the Police Department. “I always knew that police work was a hard job but with a better understanding of it through this course, I now know that it’s an even tougher job that I expected,” he wrote.

Girard said students benefit not only by learning about police work, but by interacting with police officers and getting to know them as regular, everyday people.

Applications are available online at the Police Department’s website or at the station at 20 Storer St. Completed applications will be accepted through Feb. 3.

For more information, contact Girard at 282-8214 or [email protected]

Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or [email protected]

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