NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The City of North Charleston is launching their very first Citizens Public Safety Academy. City officials say it will give them a chance to open up the line of communication with their residents.
Participants will be given an inside look into the police, fire, code and building departments. The 11-week program is free and participants will spend their time doing a variety of things.
"Somebody has to say 'you know what? This is my community and I'm concerned about what goes on in my community," said Vanderbilt Evans, Sr., Pastor of Resurrected Life Ministry in Jesus Christ. "in light of it, I am a protector of my community, so therefore, I need to be informed."
Pastor Vanderbilt is urging his fellow community members to join him in applying for the academy.
"We, as citizens, don't know a lot about what's going on in the police department," said Vanderbilt.
That unknown is exactly what North Charleston Police Chief Eddie Driggers says he wants to change.
"You just can't fight crime without having the community on board," said Chief Driggers.
City officials say participants will get to spend time trying out fire gear, seeing how a car is extricated, taking a look at infrared technology used by the fire department and even spending time with the coroner.
"No matter what we face in this community, we still have an obligation," said Chief Driggers. "People have an obligation to work together with us to make this as good as a community as it can be."
The first session will take place from February to April. A second, summer session will run from May to July.
If you're interested in participating, you must be 20 years old or older and a North Charleston resident. Sgt. Glover also says that each applicant will go through a background check. They will pick their participants.
If you're interested, an application can be completed in person at the North Charleston Police Department Training Unit. That's located on the second floor of City Hall. You can also complete an application online.