SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Some Spartanburg County residents have a taste of what it’s like to work as a Sheriff’s deputy. We got a closer look at the department’s Citizen’s Police Academy and how it benefits the community.
It’s a firsthand taste of making split second decisions.
“I thought it would be a really great learning experience and it has been,” said Diana Adams. She said her experience is an especially personal one. “My son has been an officer for 22 years with Kenilworth Illinois police department,” she said. “It’s a quite dangerous occupation so I pray for him every day.”
Wanting to know more about life in law enforcement brought her and two dozen others to the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s office Citizen’s Police Academy. The 12 week program has three hour sessions that bring average citizens inside the world of those who protect their communities.
“It’s an opportunity for citizens to get a more realistic look at what we do every day,” said Lieutenant Kevin Bobo. “We try to expose them to every division of the Sheriff’s Office whether it is uniform patrol, investigations, forensics, K9, SWAT.”
Thursday’s session was a culmination of it all with traffic stops and armed subjects. The presented scenarios officers can encounter and the emotions that go along with them.
“The split second decisions they have to make,” said Adams. “I mean. It’s life or death.”
It’s an experience the sheriff’s office says helps build a partnership with the community.
“The class from two years ago went out and were like ambassadors for the Sheriff’s Office in their own communities,” said Lt. Bobo. “From them being in the class, they would go back to their community, ask us to come speak to neighborhood watch groups or church groups.”
The Citizen’s Police Academy participants will officially graduate next Thursday. The ceremony starts 6:00 p.m. at Cleveland Park.
Adults 18 years of age and older can apply to take part in the free program. The Spartanburg Police Department also offers a citizen’s police academy.