Citizens Academy

Alderman shootsPat Alderman takes aim during a class of the Lakeland Police Department’s Citizen’s Academy.

In a few months, I’ll finish my third year in Lakeland. I have found the vast majority of government officials open and helpful. (Enough so that I was very surprised the couple of times someone proved not to be either open or helpful.)

In the past year I’ve attended the Polk County Citizen’s Academy, Lakeland’s Citizen Academy, and the LPD Citizen’s Academy.

Let me announce I am not running for County Commissioner.

It seems some of my classmates had political aspirations, but the majority simply wanted to learn about their government. I encourage you to take the time to do the same.

The three classes cost me a couple hours each week, but gave me a much better understanding of the processes and difficulties in the many departments of the city and county.

For the most part, the classes were well presented with a surplus of information. There was always plenty of time to question staff and officials. All classes were at night, one night a week; except the Lakeland class, which was a night a month. Each group gives you the opportunity to make up missed classes in the next session of their academy. However, all have limits on how many classes you can miss and still “graduate.”

In a few weeks, when you make your New Year’s Resolutions, you might want to consider attending a Citizen’s Academy. It will certainly be easier than giving up cheesecake.

Photo (c) Pat Alderman