If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a police officer, the Aiken Department of Public Safety is accepting applications for its third annual Citizens Public Safety Academy, which will begin in September.

The nine-week program is held each Thursday beginning Sept. 11 and gives participants an overview of Aiken Public Safety’s functions and operations. Each Thursday session lasts from 6:30 to 9 p.m. and focuses on a different aspect of public safety, from basic patrol functions and criminal investigations to fire fighting and use of force.

Participants get hands-on knowledge and experience about a public safety officer’s job, according to Lt. Ben Harm, who said the program has been a “resounding success” for the agency.

“We do not train anybody to be a police officer or firefighter,” Harm said. “We’re introducing them to what we do and how we do it.”

The class will be limited to about 18 spots, Harm said. Anyone interested in participating must complete an application and have it submitted by Aug. 22.

A criminal-background check will be conducted on all applicants, and any applicant with a felony conviction or extensive criminal background will not be accepted. Applicants must be 18 years old or older to participate.

Applications are available at Aiken Public Safety headquarters, 251 Laurens St., or online at http://bit.ly/1o2MNUt.

For more information, call Harm at 803-644-1905 or email bharm@cityofaikensc.gov.

Teddy Kulmala covers the crime and courts beat for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since August 2012. He is a native of Williston and majored in communication studies at Clemson University.