Citizens Learn What it Takes to be a Police Officer

Dothan, AL - Dothan Police Officer Katrina Lewis spends her shift patrolling the streets.

"That's what we're here for, to help serve and protect the citizens," said Lewis. "You never know what you'll have to deal with. You'll have those days where you have nothing at all, but then you have those days where you're dealing with a dead body or going to help someone out of a car."

That's just one of the lessons the Dothan Police Department's Citizen Academy is teaching.

"Every night is different. Every time you ride you see something totally different," said Dorlisa Henderson.

She would know. This is her fourth time taking part in the program.

Participants learn about the community watch program, the crime scene unit, the bomb squad, and swat team.

But Henderson said the ride-alongs keep her coming back.

"They're out there, they don't know from one minute to the next what they're going to be doing. They could go from a suicide call to helping a lady move her car because she ran out of gas. Then you go to a shooting or a drug deal."

The citizen academy isn't training these people to be reserve police officers. The main goal is to help them understand why an officer may make certain decisions.

"This will give the citizens an eye opener and a broad view of the minor to the major calls that we have to deal with. Just basically give them an insight," said Lewis.

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