SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – The city of Spartanburg is hosting its Citizen’s Police and Fire Academy for the first time since 2019.

Throughout the course, participants will be taught about laws and the court system, and go through simulations to show them what it is like to respond to different crime scenes and emergencies.

“A lot of it is hands-on where they can actually do stuff and interact with officers and firefighters,” said Lt. Daniel Gordon. “One of the things we offer are ride alongs with officers. That gives them the opportunity to see if this is really what they want to do or not.”

Participants will also be introduced to other county departments. They will tour the courthouse, solicitor’s office and 911 center, and learn about SWAT and Animal Services. 

“There are so many options and opportunities,” said Gordon.

Gordon has led the course for more than 10 years. He said the program has not only helped the Spartanburg Police Department recruit new employees, it has also helped build community relationships.

“Even if you don’t like the police or don’t understand the police, come take the class and make an informed decision for yourself,” said Gordon.

The program is free. It will be held Monday evenings from August 29 through November 14.

Applications can be found on the city of Spartanburg’s website.

Interested participants must have a valid driver’s license and be willing to submit to a background check.