Saco Police Department’s popular Citizens Academy begins April 1, so people interested in taking part should apply by March 15, program organizers say. Courtesy Photo

SACO — Have you ever wanted to learn the ins and outs of police work or go on a ride along?

Now’s your chance.

Saco Police Department is hosting its free, nine-week Citizen Police Academy from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday nights starting April 1. Those interested in applying should get in touch with the police department by March 15.

This is the 10th year of the academy, said Sgt. Scott Sicard. As well as getting a glimpse of the day-to-day operation, those taking part can learn about how a crime scene is processed, how to protect themselves from identity theft, concealed carry laws, the opiate outreach initiative, the role of a School Resource Officer, fingerprinting, drunk driving enforcement, self-defense, and a whole lot more.

What past participants tell Sicard is that they enjoyed meeting the officers and getting to know some of them personally.

“They also comment on the fact that they were not really aware of what types of things happened in the community and that it was interesting to hear about how the Saco Police Department works,” said Sicard.

One man, posting on the police department’s Facebook page, said he had taken part in three academies.

“I enjoyed them all,” he said.

“I am proud to say, it was a valuable experience for me, learning how hard our local PD works to keep us all safe,” posted another participant.

Some who have taken the academy classes are eager to take them again, Sicard said.

Asked what he liked best about the academy, Sicard said, “We open the doors to the community.”

“The people that we serve are able to come in and get a chance to understand what we do as police officers,” he said. “It creates an atmosphere of trust and creates bonds with the community, which are so very important in the community we serve.”

“It also gives the citizens and officers a chance to interact in a much more relaxed atmosphere,” Sicard continued. “Officers are not on a call, so they are not trying to get other information; it is all about the interaction with the class. The Saco Police Department takes pride in the fact that we work in partnership with our community and the citizen police academy is a means towards that end.”

Everyone is welcome to apply, but preference will be given to Saco residents, said Saco Communications Director Emily Roy. Class size is limited to 25 students.

Anyone with questions about the Citizen Police Academy may contact Sicard by telephone at (207)282-8214 or via email [email protected] Applications will be accepted until March 15.

Graduates of the academy get to go on a ride along.

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