The Jonesboro Police Department hopes to break down barriers with Jonesboro residents through a Citizen Police Academy.
"Short of them swearing in and putting on a badge, this is about as close as we can get to showing most of the community what we do," JPD Sgt. Cassie Brandon told Region 8 News.
From the beginning, residents will get a look at what it even takes to become an officer.
"It's actually a pretty long, drawn out process. You can ask anybody that works here, it took months to get hired on here," Sgt. Brandon said.
Though the job isn't for everyone, JPD hopes to give citizens a better idea of what it takes to become an officer and what officers do on a daily basis through the Citizen Police Academy.
"We've got one night dedicated to patrol operations, one night dedicated to SWAT," Sgt. Brandon explained. "Hopefully by the end of it, they'll have a good working knowledge of everything we do here at the police department."
Electives will also be offered for a ride-along and going out to the shooting range.
Sgt. Brandon said this will give residents an idea of why officers react certain ways in certain situations.
"Why officers approach cars a certain way during a traffic stop or when we're handling a domestic incident, why we handle it a certain way."
Sgt. Brandon said their end goal is to open lines of communication with the community of Jonesboro.
"With them being in here, we get to hear first hand about their concerns, what it is they want from us," Sgt. Brandon said. "Hopefully it will dispel some misconceptions that there are out there about police work and what we do. So there's a lot of things we want to accomplish with it."
To be a part of the Citizen Police Academy, you must be 21 years of age, live or work in Craighead County, have no previous felony arrests and no major misdemeanor arrests within the past few years.
Sgt. Brandon said they also expect participants to complete at least 75% of the course.
The Citizen Police Academy will start up in February. Right now, classes are set to meet Thursday evenings.
For information on the Citizen Police Academy, contact Sgt. Brandon or Public Information Specialist Paul Holmes at the Jonesboro Police Department.
Sgt. Brandon: (870) 935-6710 Ext. 2148
Paul Holmes: (870) 336-7297
The class will be limited to 20 participants.