AYER -- Residents will get a look into how the Ayer police department works during the a 10-week citizen police academy.
The goal of the academy is to encourage communication between the public and police and to help build relationships. Getting people to feel more comfortable with the department can help when he need to reach out for help, said academy director Sgt. John MacDonald.
"Often times we are called to situations when people are at their worse, so this is an opportunity for us to meet people under more ideal circumstances," he said.
The program, which is in its 18th year, begins March 7 and and ends May 9 with a graduation ceremony. Classes will be Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m.
The academy is open to candidates that are at least 17-years-old and live or work in town. They must pass a background check and not have a serious criminal history.
There are 25 spots available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The program will be a mix of classroom learning, work in the field, and trips.
Participants will witness a trial at Ayer District Court, fire weapons at a training range, and observe a demonstration of an OUI stop with actual intoxicated people.
Classes will cover a variety of topics including motor vehicle stops, domestic violence, use of force, narcotics investigations, and forensics.
MacDonald said past participants were of all ages and came from different backgrounds.