UTICA -- Students and families came out to Mohawk Valley Community College Monday to celebrate the 'Citizens Police Academy' graduation.
Students of the 'Citizens Police Academy' received their certificates at the graduation.
Utica Police spoke at the ceremony.
Friends and family were in attendance, enjoying refreshments as they supported their loved ones.
The 'Citizens Police Academy' is a class where students learn what it takes to be a cop.
Utica police say the program helps bridge the gap between police and the community.
'Citizens Police Academy' graduates say they now have a better understanding of police.
"I had respect for law enforcement but I have much more respect now that I learned what they do and what they do for the community," Program graduate Gerald Villarreal said.
"Police officers, they have their life on duty as well and they're also trying to connect with the community, to work with the community so that the community can be helpful to them and they can be helpful to the community," Program graduate See Lee said.
During the class, students learned about patrol operations, police K-9 units, and criminal investigations.
The program is in its third year, and is organized by Utica Police Department's. MVCC staff say the class is gaining popularity with more students taking it each year.
Police say they want students to take what they learn and use it to help create better relationships with police and the community.
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