The New Bedford Police Department's Citizens Police Academy graduated fourteen residents on Monday.

Chief Joseph Cordeiro told WBSM News the participants completed an eight week course that included classroom instruction and ride alongs which he believes gave them a new understanding of the way the police department functions.

"In speaking with them they get a really good understanding of the police operations of what officers do on a daily basis, in many cases why we do it, which is a gap that many folks might question, 'why do the officers do that or why do they do this' they get a better understanding of that," said Cordeiro.

Cordeiro says the program also allows the public to put a more human face on the men and women who protect and serve the city.

"They get to see our challenges, some of the training that we've had, and they get to meet police officers in a variety of our specialized units, so the hope is that they get to appreciate the work that we do, we get to build some friendships, and we have some new ambassadors for the police department," said Cordeiro.

The next academy is tentatively planned for spring and Cordeiro says they are trying to find ways to provide access for those who can't attend in person.

"Going forward we have every intention of videotaping them and putting them on the public access channel so the rest of our residents who are unable to attend, can," said Cordeiro.