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The Benton Police Department’s annual Citizens Police Academy will kick off Sept. 24, ushering in its 16th year of giving citizens an in-depth, first-hand look at what it’s like to be an officer. Applications and release forms are now available at 114 S. East St., Suite 100 or online at The academy is free and open to anyone 18 and older with no felony convictions, but seating is limited.

Organizers say every year takes on its own personality, but one theme remains constant—fun.

“Law enforcement is obviously a serious job, but we like to keep it fun at the same time,” said Captain Kevin Russell, “and for the purposes of this class, we definitely don’t like to burden participants, so we keep it lighthearted while allowing them to learn and experience the detailed duties of a police officer.”

Lieutenant Jackson is coordinating this year’s academy with the help of Sergeant Speer and said participants will be introduced to a variety of topics such as criminal investigation, patrol functions, narcotics, school resource, crime prevention, traffic stops, K-9 and firing range.

“Participants will have no trouble finding something that interests them, and usually, it’s more than one thing. We invite you to sign up if you’re even the least bit curious.”

The classes will take place on seven consecutive Tuesdays from 6-9 p.m. beginning Sept. 24 and will include one Saturday. Deadline to apply is Sept. 20. Completed applications can be mailed to or turned in at the department or emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For inquiries, contact BNPD at 501-776-5948 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.