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Duluth PD launching revamped citizens academy

DULUTH — The Duluth Police Department has announced its first citizens academy in years — and it’s setting the bar high.

Maj. Don Woodruff, commander of the department’s office of professional standards, will lead a five-month, bi-weekly citizens police academy slated to begin on Jan. 23. The class will take place on Thursday evenings and will offer residents a behind-the-scenes, hands-on look at Duluth PD’s operations.

It will be similar to offerings by the Gwinnett County PD and other city departments but, according to Woodruff, even better.

“It’s going to be great,” Woodruff said. “The best one out there.”

Each meeting will provide information on a different aspect of law enforcement, including patrol techniques, domestic violence and crisis intervention, firearms safety, crime scene management and traffic enforcement. Participants will also be able to utilize the scenario-based shooting simulator and do some hands-on driving of a patrol vehicle, Woodruff said.

Duluth PD last offered such an academy in 2006. The revamped version will also be a prerequisite for Duluth’s Citizens Assisting Police program, in which residents will be able to aid the department in a number of ways.

Participants must be 21 years or older with a valid driver’s license and submit to a criminal background check. Those interested should email Woodruff at dwoodruff@duluthpd.com or call 678-512-3705. Forms are available at duluthga.net.

Class size is limited and city of Duluth residents will be given first priority. Meetings will be held at the police department, located at 3276 Buford Highway, and typically last from 7 to 10 p.m.