Ottumwa Citizen's Police Academy concludes with graduation

The third annual Ottumwa Citizen's Police Academy came to a conclusion Monday evening with graduation.

Participants were awarded a certificate, along with a jacket and Ottumwa Police Department pin.

Throughout the eight week program, the group learned everything from training and internal affairs, to how the SWAT and Drug Task Force operate, as well as got a tour of the Wapello County Law Center, which houses both the police department and sheriff's office, and the Wapello County Jail.

If the police academy continues next year, it will be the first without former Police Chief Jim Clark, who began the program, but this year's participants said it's well worth the effort.

"It gives you more respect for the police, what they go through," said Robert Begntol, a police academy participant. "A lot of the things on TV and in movies is partly true, but the majority is made up to sell programs. I really liked the Drug Task Force, what they go through, the arrests that they did. The tour of the jail was good."

The police academy's main goal is to forge relationships with the public and give citizens knowledge of departmental operation they wouldn't normally have.