Columbia County sheriff's Deputy Kara McGahee will offer residents a behind-the-scenes view of the sheriff's office through the 14th Citizens' Law Enforcement Academy.
The semiannual course, which begins Thursday, is free and open to all Columbia County residents 18 and older. The course runs from 6:30 to 9 p.m. each Thursday for 10 weeks, McGahee said.
The first class will be held at the sheriff's office training center between the Columbia County Detention Center and Animal Care and Control office in Appling.
Participants will gain insight into the everyday operations of the sheriff's office through tours of the 911 center, the Columbia County Detention Center and the Columbia County Justice Center and Courthouse Annex in Evans and through demonstrations from the sheriff's office canine unit, SWAT team and crime scene technician. The county's on-call magistrate judge also will explain the court process.
McGahee said the most popular parts of the 10-week class are the evenings devoted to firearms safety and marksmanship training, which includes time on the practice range with a coach and a sheriff's-office-issued .40-caliber Glock handgun. Also popular is the newly added self-defense training.
McGahee said most take the class just to get a little awareness of how the sheriff's office operates.
"If they want to volunteer with the sheriff's office, like with our auxiliary program, they have to come to the class," McGahee said.
"But most of the people that come to the class, they are just actually interested in what their sheriff's office does.''
Anyone interested in attending the Thursday class, which is limited to 15 or 20 people, should call McGahee at (706) 541-3905 for an application. Those who are late registering should reserve a slot by calling McGahee and will be allowed to fill out an application Thursday during the class, McGahee said.
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