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      Citizens academy showcases police training

      BENNETTSVILLE, SC (WPDE) - The Bennettsville Police Department is holding its first ever Police Citizens Academy.

      About 12 people are taking part in the ten week program.

      "The purpose of this is to make sure that the folk in our community get a better understanding of what we do and how we do what we do. As far as some processes that we go through. The risk that the officers take, but more importantly they can see first hand why some of the things that we get involved in and it's just not as easy sometimes as people think," said Chief Larry McNeil.

      The residents spend a lot of hours in a classroom type setting, but they also get to go out from time to time to learn what officers do in the field.

      Saturday afternoon t hey watched the Special Operation Response Team (SORT) go through different scenarios for training purposes .

      "You'll be able to see them do some shooting, some new tactical maneuvers being done today by the officers. And hopefully the people from the academy can get a better understanding and more aware of what they're seeing."

      Many in the academy say they were amazed that their small town police department was so well-trained to handle major disasters.

      The residents have at least five more classes to go through before they can graduate from the program.