SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Surfside Beach Police Department is getting ready to open its door to give residents a behind-the-scenes look at how police work to keep the town's neighborhoods safe.
Called the Citizen's Police Academy, the program is designed to help bridge the gap between the town's police department and people who live in Surfside Beach.
Surfside Beach Police Chief Rodney Keziah said the program will start sometime later this summer and anyone who works, lives, or owns property in the town can apply to be a student.
Accepted applications will learn about crime scene investigations, police patrols, and will also get a firsthand experience when it comes down to what police officers do in the town every day.
Town council member Ann Dodge said it will be great to see more people helping out with neighborhood watches and police officers like that did years ago in Surfside Beach, before the CPA.
"We had night patrols just because the guys liked to do that not because we had anything wrong in the town," Dodge said. "It was a good thing because they were visible and were an adjunct to the police."
Another goal of the CPA is to help break down stereotypes some people may have about police officers and the department, Chief Keziah added.
Dodge said she agrees that it could bring the community and police department closer together.
"It can do that through the citizen involvement," Dodge said. "It can do that because citizens are less threatening to some people than a policeman who comes through in a uniform."
The program is scheduled to be every Thursday night for two hours. Chief Keziah said about 15 students will be selected to go through the program, and the application process starts the first week of June.