The public has a shot to learn firsthand how the Cape Coral Police Department works.
The 33rd class of the CCPD's Citizens Police Academy kicks off on Sept. 25. The 10-week program gives participants an in-depth look at what the department does and why. It features a combination of classroom setting and hands-on scenarios, and participants have a chance to go to the driving range.
"It's just to get the citizens familiar with what goes on at the police department," Joy Nyack, community outreach projects coordinator with the CCPD, said.
"Every week we try to introduce them to some form of law enforcement," she said.
The program is free, and participants meet every Thursday from 6-9 p.m.
Some of the subjects covered include defensive tactics, traffic safety, criminal law and police communications. DUIs, the use of Tasers, forensics and the SWAT team are also part of it.
"We actually do a class that we do different traffic scenarios in," Nyack said.
Participants have to figure out how to approach each situation based on what a real officer would do. She noted that many acknowledge that they never realized everything an officer has to think about.
"They're taken aback," Nyack said.
Other favorite weeks among participants have been forensics, DUI and K-9.
"They like how, when a crime happens, you have to go through the procedures," she said.
For the DUI class, participants get to try their hand at the "drunk goggles."
"They love that," Nyack said.
Those interested in taking part in the upcoming Citizens Police Academy can fill out an application online or pick up one at the police department. It covers basic personal and medical information.
"I just think it gives them an overall of what we do and why we do what we do," she said.
Eligible participants must be at least 20 years old and a resident of the Cape.
Applicants must also undergo a criminal background check.
The deadline to apply is Monday, but late applications will be accepted.
As of Tuesday, Nyack had received about a dozen applications.
"We try to keep it to at least 40 or 45 students," she said.
Nyack expects to receive more applications closer to the start of the program.
"Because it is the holiday season, summer vacation," she said.
The CCPD hosts the Citizens Police Academy twice a year - in the spring and in the fall. Upon completing the program, participants are invited to take part in a graduation ceremony. According to Nyack, the classes can be made up of college students, retirees, couples and even club members.
"Honestly, it is all across the board," she said.
Nyack urged residents to apply.
"The more educated they are, the better we're represented," she said.
To apply, visit online at www.capecops.com.
For more information, see the website or contact Nyack at 239-242-3342.
The Cape Coral Police Department is at 1100 Cultural Park Blvd.