The Gila County Sheriff's Office will begin its citizens academy March 10 at Gila Community College.
"The academy will run for nine weeks," GCSO Lt. Adam Shepherd said. "It's free to those who want to participate and you can even get three college credit hours for it."
Classes will be every Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and there will be one 8-hour day at the shooting range, Shepherd said.
Participants are also required to go on one ride-along shift with a sheriff's deputy.
According to Shepherd, participants will receive training in:
- Patrol operations and traffic stops;
- DUI enforcement;
- Accident investigation;
- K-9 operations;
- Crime scene investigation and evidence collection;
- Use of force-- firearms and Taser;
- Defensive driving;
- Search and rescue operations;
- Volunteer programs.
Shepherd said many topics will have practical exercises as part of the training.
Those who wish to participate must fill out an application at the sheriff's office at 108 West Main Street.
To be eligible, participants must be 18-years-old, live in Gila County and must pass a background check, according to Shepherd.
"There can be no prior felony convictions and no misdemeanor arrests within six months of their academy application," Shepherd said. "Criminal record and driving status is checked on each applicant."
For more information about the GCSO Citizen's Academy, call the sheriff's office at (928) 474-2208.