Gainesville Citizens Police Academy in full swing

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GAINESVILLE, TX -- 20 Gainesville residents are taking part in the 11 week academy.

Most said it's a great way to learn about what's going on in their community, and just two weeks in, and they've gained a whole new respect for officers.

"I'll definitely be here for every class," student Lisa Petway said.

Students are excited for the opportunity to learn the in's and out's of law enforcement.

"I'm hoping that I learn more to keep me aware of my surroundings and my community, because I've lived here my whole life. I've gone to school here. This is my town. And If I can help make it better then I want to do that," Petway said.

"I'm just trying to learn more about our city, the goings on, what the police do," student Gary Baldridge said.

More than 500 students have graduated from the Gainesville Police Academy since the 1990's.

"It gives our citizen's an opportunity to see what their police department does for them. It gives them a better understanding of the jobs that we do and everything that's involved," Captain Mark Brazelton said.

Students get to tour the dispatch area, where all the 911 calls are taken, and they'll even get to see how a taser is used.

But Gary Baldridge is most excited for what's to come after graduation.

"I think the real deal at the end will be we're able to go out and ride along with a patrolman and really see what they do and get that first-hand knowledge," Baldridge said.

If you're interested in taking part in the next academy, it's going to be held in February and the Gainesville Police Department is already taking applications. You have to be 18 or older and pass a background check.

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