What happens inside the Gulfport Police Department

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It's week four of the citizen police academy, K-9 units week. This 12 week course is put on by the Gulfport Police Department to inform the public on officers' duties and gain support and understanding from the community.

In a class of 25, Sheredia Marshall and Russell Dobbyn sat eager to learn.

"It's absolutely amazing what you learn on television is not really going on," said Dobbyn.

"Quite a bit informative and just to learn what it takes to run the city is very interesting," said Russell.

Both said when they first started the class, they had different ideas of a police officers' tasks. But through this course, they've been humbled.

"I just thought they'd just get in their cars and ride around," said Marshall. "You know, just from day-to-day not realizing it's really a very, very important job."

"It's surprising to see just how calm the dispatchers need to be with their shifts," said Russell.

"Somebody calling and they're all excited cause there's an emergency going on and dispatchers got to try and calmly get that information."

It's messages like that that made Lieutenant Mike Shaw step up as a leader for this class.

"They're our eyes and ears of the public," said Lieutenant Shaw. "There's only so many of us and there's a lot of them and this has been excellent to open eyes."

The three hour course is what's needed to cover a curriculum of more than 24 procedures. One third of the way through the course, anticipation and gratitude grows stronger.

"I would say thank you for putting this class on and again, it's very informative. I just hope it continues," said Marshall.

This is the first year the department has held this class in almost a decade. It's a free course that will be offered again in the spring.

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