Twenty-one people taking part in the Aiken Department of Public Safety’s Citizens Academy celebrated the end of the nine-week program with a graduation and dinner on Thursday night at the City of Aiken Conference Center.

The participants enjoyed a dinner, a ceremony and the company of numerous city officials including Mayor Fred Cavanaugh, several city council members and the Public Safety command staff.

Lt. Ben Harm, program coordinator, said one of the participants even wrote a speech on the experience and presented it.

“It was a very nice event,” Harm said. “Everybody had a good time, everybody enjoyed each other’s company.”

The event capped off nine weeks of intense classes during which the roughly two-dozen participants learned the ins and outs of the public safety field, including basic patrol functions, firefighting, traffic safety and criminal investigation.

The class met each Thursday night for about 2 and a half hours, with class time often going over because the participants were so engaged.

“We had to turn away a bunch of folks,” Harm said of the interest in the program at its beginning. “We’ll be hosting at least one more class next year.”

Citizens Academy celebrates graduation