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With police officers under increased scrutiny on the job, few people truly have an idea of what it s like to work one of the toughest jobs in America. But a program being offered by the Lynnwood Police Department offers ordinary citizens a glimpse into the daily life of a cop on the beat, and beyond.

It s really an eye opening experience, said Lynnwood PD's Shannon Sessions.

Recruitment is underway for the 2013 Lynnwood Police Academy. It s a 12 to 14 week course designed to give members of the public a better understanding of the mission and operations of the police department. During the course participants will be introduced to the basic information that all police officers must know to perform their jobs, including such topics as patrol tactics, criminal and narcotics investigations, use of force, communications, DUI procedures, and domestic violence.

Class highlights may include the investigation of a mock homicide scene, work with a crime scene tech to study blood spatter patterns, DNA and weapon marks, a ride-along with a patrol officer on an actual shift and even a jailhouse dinner.

The more we can teach the public about the way things work, the better citizens we will have, Sessions said.

The course runs from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. every Thursday starting January 10 at the Lynnwood Police Department. The course is free, but space is limited and registration is required.

Interested citizens can sign up online, or pick up a flyer at the front desk of the Lynnwood Police Department (open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily).

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