What’s it like to be a police officer? Join the citizens police academy to find out.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a police officer?

Citizens Police Academy can be your chance to find out. Both Belleville and Fairview Heights police departments are offering a course to learn how about being a police officer.

Participants in Fairview Heights can learn about the history of the department, practice shooting at a firearms range, learn about police dogs, take part in a simulated traffic stop and take a tour of the county jail. In Belleville, classes will cover patrol operations, crime scene investigations, use of force and how the SWAT team works.

Participants in both courses will also complete a four-hour ride-along with a patrol officer. The class is a combination of presentations, tours and hands-on experiences designed to teach citizens about modern policing.

Fairview Heights’ class will meet from 6-9 p.m. every Thursday from Sept. 7 through Nov. 9. Belleville’s class is every Wednesday from 6-8:30 p.m., from Sept. 13-Nov. 1.

Participants must be older than 21 for Fairview Heights and older than 18 for Belleville and should live or work in the respective city. People who don’t live or work in the city may be accepted, but residents and workers will be given preference. Belleville college students are also able to participate.

To join the Fairview Heights program, the department requires a $25 deposit fee. The fee is refunded when participants complete at least 70 percent of the program.

For the Fairview Heights program, email Officer Jon Friederich, the program coordinator, at friederich@fairviewpd.org, or call 618-489-2130 for more information.

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