Muscle Shoals Police Department holds first citizens academy - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Muscle Shoals Police Department holds first citizens academy

The Muscle Shoals Police Department held its first citizens academy. (Source: WAFF) The Muscle Shoals Police Department held its first citizens academy. (Source: WAFF)

The very first citizen's academy with the Muscle Shoals Police Department is wrapping up.

It's free and is helping families have a better mutual understanding of law enforcement.

Police with Muscle Shoals gave a firsthand look at what they do day to day while officers get to know people in the community during an eight-week course.

"I was trying to talk that student down when I probably used force,” said Marilyn Davis about the firearms simulator. “Your heart rate gets a going and you really have to make those split second decisions."

There were 13 in Muscle Shoals' first citizens academy. Their training has consisted of patrol, special operations, the law and going through five lifelike scenarios with a firearms simulator.

"Some of them were in a shooting situation, a deadly force, some of them haven't and some haven't used deadly force was needed, so it gives them the opportunity for them to be in the shoes of an officer," said Police Chief Clint Reck.

"They have to have different compartmentalization to deal with what they deal with," said Jennifer Balentine.

Balentine is a police wife of 20 years and thought she knew a lot before taking the program.

"When you come here and you do this and you hear the things that go behind the scenes and you know about it there is so much I didn't know," Balentine said.

It's giving them a better perspective of the men and women behind the badge while also changing how they look at the words protect and serve.

"I want them all to come home, I want them all to come home at night," Balentine said.

"It’s not an easy job. It really isn't,” Davis said. “My hat is off to them."

Those in the program are set to graduate on May 23. Muscle Shoals police hope to have another citizen academy in the fall.

All participants must live or work in the city of Muscle Shoals, be at least 18 years old, have no criminal record and agree to the established program rules to participate in the program. Applicants who meet the criteria for participation will be notified of their course depending upon available course space.

Applicants must agree to submit to a background check.

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