Want to learn the skills of an Aiken Public Safety officer?

Aiken Department of Public Safety

The Aiken Department of Public Safety wants you to know what they do on a daily basis. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 14, 2012)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012

AIKEN, S.C. -- "What most people believe a police department can and cannot do is based off of television shows, such as 'CSI,'" said Lt. Ben Harm with the Aiken Department of Public Safety.

That's the reason Harm is heading up a new initiative. Members of the public will learn police skills, firefighting tips and even how to investigate a crime scene. It's all part of Aiken Public Safety's new Citizen's Public Safety Academy.

"We're showing them how we work, how we operate, hopefully to bring a greater understanding of why we do things -- both from a legal aspect, as well as from a procedural aspect," Harm said.

Classes will start Sept. 13. The students will attend class each Thursday night for nine weeks from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

They'll also learn how officers patrol communities, enforce traffic law and use force -- both lethal and less lethal.

However, Harm says the goal isn't to create a militia of citizen police officers.

"We're not training people to be police officers or firefighters. We're really exposing what we do," he said.

But Harm says the program will help stomp out crime.

"They'll receive a lot of in-depth knowledge about what we're looking for when we get a report of a crime, and the idea behind that is we can have extra sets of eyes," he said.

He says the initiative will create a stronger relationship with the community, too. It's another initiative by Aiken Public Safety emphasizing community policing.

"You can't effectively do a job such as police work or firefighting without the assistance of our community," Harm said.

Class information and details from the Aiken Department of Public Safety:
The Aiken Department of Public Safety will be holding a Citizen’s Public Safety Academy starting Sept. 13. This will be a nine-week program consisting of one class each Thursday from 6:30 to 9 p.m. All instructors are members of the public safety profession and will present material on the following topics:

  • Basic patrol functions
  • Firefighting
  • Use of force (lethal, less lethal)
  • Community policing
  • Traffic safety
  • Criminal investigations

The Citizen’s Public Safety Academy is intended to be an overview of the Aiken Department of Public Safety’s functions and operations. Participants will not be trained as police officers or firefighters. Class size is limited and will be filled on a first-come basis. Applications must be received no later than Sept. 6. Participants must attend at least eight classes to pass the Citizen’s Public Safety Academy. A background check will be performed on ALL applicants. Applicants with felony convictions or extensive criminal backgrounds will not be accepted. The application deadline is Sept. 6. Applications are available at Aiken Public Safety headquarters located at 251 Laurens Street NW, Aiken, SC or on the City of Aiken website here.

Applicants can submit their applications via email to bharm@cityofaikensc.gov or send completed applications to:
The Aiken Department of Public Safety
ATTN: Lt. Harm
P.O. BOX 1177
Aiken, SC 29802

If you have any questions, contact Lt. Harm at
(803) 644-1905 or by email at bharm@cityofaikensc.gov.

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