NEGAUNEE TOWNSHIP — Ten people spent two hours every Thursday for the last eight weeks getting insight into an important aspect of the community.

Those ten graduated from the Michigan State Police Citizens’ Academy at the Negaunee Post today. Weekly courses on drug enforcement, accident investigation, and much more provided participants with a detailed look at the complex assignments troopers are tasked with.

“The overall program is [intended] just to give citizens the understanding of what we do on a daily basis — that we all have different jobs,” said Trooper Stacey Rasanen, who serves as Community Service Trooper at the Negaunee Post.

“I have always had a respect for law enforcement, but my respect has tripled,” said Julie Shaw, a community member from the Gwinn area. “I had no idea how many hats they wore. Our world is getting a little crazier at this time, and so, I feel so confident now to know that we have these people out there protecting us.”

Another purpose of the academy was to educate citizens to allow them to spread accurate information to others.

“They are voices in our community that understand because they’ve gone through the eight week training. They got information so that they can spread it out into our community. It’s correct information. They know that they don’t have to fear law enforcement,” Trooper Rasanen added.

Troopers plan to use feedback gathered from this first Citizens’ Academy to determine where to go with the program in the future. Posts across the State of Michigan participated in this pilot program.