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Snellville police academy seeks hands-on residents

SNELLVILLE - Here's a chance to let your inner cop come out.

Snellville police want an extra line of defense in thwarting crime in city neighborhoods. To make that happen, they're recruiting average citizens for a hands-on crash course in Policing 101.

The 2009 Citizens Police Academy is built to suit working folks. Beginning March 26, the academy is held for seven sessions between 6 and 8 p.m. each Thursday. It's free.

Class size is limited to about 20. The deadline to apply is March 6.

"We want to give citizens a little bit of insight into our day-to-day operations," Snellville police Cpl. Joe Barnes, the academy's coordinator, said. "We look to citizens as our partners in keeping the community safe."

The classes feature lectures, hands-on policing exercises and police ride-alongs, taught by 15 to 20 off-duty cops who volunteer to teach and roll-play. A graduation banquet for all participants is planned at the academy's conclusion.

If a wave of applications flood in, Barnes said any extra applicants could be rolled into an extra academy in the next six months.

The academy's open to anyone over 18 years, and applicants don't necessarily have to live within Snellville city limits. All applicants must submit to a brief background and criminal history check, Barnes said.

"We're trying to make it across the board (with participants)," Barnes said. "We have people from the financial sector, we have housewives - it's a pretty broad spectrum."

Duluth and Suwanee police have recently hosted similar academies.

Applications are available at Snellville City Hall and the police department.

For more information, or to have an application mailed or faxed, contact Cpl. Joe Barnes at 770-985-3560 or jbarnes@snellville.org.