Ottumwa Police Department holds the third annual Citizen's Police Academy

The third annual Citizen's Police Academy began in Ottumwa Monday night.

Each year, around 25 participants take the eight week class, with the goal of becoming more educated about how the police department operates. Police Chief Jim Clark said the class also allows for an opportunity for the officers to forge relationships with the community.

Over the last few years, everyone from members of the media to local politicians to small business owners have participated, and they all walk away with a different view of the department.

"I think the thing that I get from them once they're done with going through the class is that it's not what they expected," Chief Clark said. "Just as simple as that - the police department's not what they expected. They had preconceived notions in mind on what the police department's like, whether it's from watching TV, listening to the news, seeing what's happening in another city and what we do have here is nothing like what they thought occurred."

The police academy runs through March 25, and each week focuses on a different topic, such as the Drug Task Force and the K9 Unit.