After a two-year absence because of COVID-19, the New Bedford Police Department is bringing back its Citizens Police Academy. The once-a-week sessions start on September 7.

Public Information Officer Lt. Scott Carola and Media Relations Specialist Holly Huntoon stopped by Townsquare Sunday this week to provide details on the program.

"This is a good way for us to invite citizens into the station and peel back that curtain that's perceived when it comes to police work and the way that we operate," Carola said. "It's a really great tool for community engagement, and perhaps it can be a tool for recruitment."

Each Wednesday night for 10 weeks, approximately 20 citizens will meet at police headquarters on Rockdale Avenue for presentations designed to give attendees a more in-depth look into the inner workings of the department.

In addition to presentations, attendees will learn CPR, learn to shoot with firearms instructors, tour the Ash Street Jail and do a ride-along with a police officer out in the field.

"We're gonna have officers from the dive team and narcotics unit make presentations and tell stories, but we're also going to bring equipment that people can handle and see how it's used," Carola said.

"The ride-along is something people would love to do, but might never get the chance to do. We're making it a reality," he said. "The one thing you will not be after taking this program is bored."

Carola said he's striving to keep it interesting and keep it moving.

Applicants must be city residents over 18 years of age and have a genuine interest in the police department and how it works. Applicants must fill out the appropriate paperwork on the New Bedford Police website.

The complete Townsquare Sunday interview with Carola and Huntoon can be heard here:

Townsquare Sunday is a weekly public affairs program heard every Sunday at 6 and 11 a.m. on 1420 AM and 99.5 FM.

The program highlights individuals and organizations seeking to make Greater New Bedford a better place to live and work.

If you would like your organization featured on Townsquare Sunday, please e-mail the host at

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