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Kalamazoo Co. Sheriff's Office recruiting for citizen police academy

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - With tensions across the country between communities and police, efforts are happening in West Michigan to help bridge the gap.

The Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office wants you to join its citizen police academy.

The sheriff's office is looking for anyone interested in learning more about how things work here.

So far, they have a diverse demographic of applicants--the youngest is 23 and the oldest is 80.

Applications are open to join the Kalamazoo Sheriff's Office Citizen Police Academy.

"The citizens that come in are going to be able to perform and take part in ride-alongs with officer's on the road, walk-alongs in the jail, they're going to get to experience mock trials and go through don't shoot, shoot scenarios," said Academy Supervisor Lieutenant Jeff Baker.

Lt. Baker says applications have been open all month. But it wasn't until a few days ago he says they were flooded with people looking to join.

"It may be as a result of the actions that were in Charlottesville this last weekend. It's hard to quite tell but whatever is spurring people to apply it's coming in big numbers in the last few days," he said.

As tensions rise between communities and law enforcement, Baker says this could be a step towards understanding.

"There may be a disconnect at the same time we get a lot of feedback from citizens that appreciate what we're doing and they understand why we're doing things that we do," he said.

It's a chance for the public to connect and help the sheriff's office better serve.

"This is an opportunity to for people that may disagree or agree with us to come in and better learn what the sheriffs department is, what we do and why we do it," said Lt. Baker.

Applications are open through August 31.

For more information, click here.

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