The St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department is starting an annual information session to educate the public about how it approaches law enforcement.
Similar to the Belleville Police Department, which will be hosting its own “Citizen’s Police Academy,” the sheriff’s department will provide classes on public safety, use of force, firearm safety and identify theft, among other things.
“Students are encouraged to ask questions and express their concerns about pertinent issues,” Sheriff Rick Watson wrote in a release. “A major goal of the academy is to increase understanding between citizens and their Sheriff’s Department, and to build strong relations for the future good of the community.”
The department would like to see a class of 20 people, which may grow next year, Deputy James Hendricks said.
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Because the training sessions will feature some areas of the jail that are normally off limits, participants must pass a background check so the department can avoid a potential security situation, Hendricks said.
Participants must be at least 21 years old and have no outstanding warrants, felonies, pending criminal cases, or a misdemeanor arrest within the past three years. Participants must also have no domestic, DUI or sex offense charges.
Applications for registration, which costs $20, are due April 1. They can be picked up at the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, located at 700 N. 5th St. in Belleville.
The training sessions will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday nights from April 6 to May 11.