SOUTHWICK — For those who want to learn about what police officers do while serving and protecting the community, the Police Department is bringing back its Citizen’s Police Academy as part of its community police initiative.

“This is a chance to show people what we do,” said Police Lt. Rhett Bannish about the academy, which will start classes on March 26.

“We’ll be showing those to attend the academy how we do things, and just the everyday life of a police officer,” he said.

The academy, which is free, will meet from 6-8 p.m. for eight consecutive Tuesdays at the police station at 11 Depot St., Southwick.

It starts with a tour of the department and its history, Bannish said. He said participants will get an overview of various facets of policing including a primer on criminal law and the court system, use-of-force procedures, familiarization of the department’s weapons platforms, crime scene investigations, a drunk driving simulator and possibly an overview of the specialized units within the department like the scuba team, and the K9 and drone units.

Participants will also get to experience a new training simulator the department has acquired for virtual firearms training.

“The simulator is for firearms and taser training,” Bannish said.

He said citizen academy sessions were offered for decades before the coronavirus pandemic shut it down in 2020.

“We had gotten away from it, but we’re bringing the program back,” he said.

The academy’s goal is to create a partnership that will benefit the community, Bannish said.

Solo attendees must be 18 years of age. Those who are under 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. Attendees must have some connection to Southwick, either as a resident or as someone who works in town. No one with a felony arrest can apply, and an applicant must not have had a misdemeanor arrest within two years of application. Other past civil or criminal charges will be evaluated on a per-case basis.

While the academy is educational, Bannish said that those interested in a career in law enforcement might consider applying for one of the 20 slots available.

Applications can be picked up in the police station lobby or, downloaded from www.southwickpolice.com: click on “download forms,” print, complete and return the form to 276@southwickma.gov or to Southwick Police Department/CPA, 11 Depot St., Southwick, MA 01077. Applications must be received by no later than March 15.