Senior Crime Academy offers free classes to give people in-depth look at local agencies

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Sometimes older men and women are more trusting than the younger generation. It makes them more vulnerable to crimes like scams. Then again, older neighbors are the first to tell police about suspected crimes. Now, police and older citizens are getting together for class.

Janet Mayes already worked in law enforcement for more than a decade. She's been through Huntsville Police's Senior Crime Academy, twice.

"I learned things that I didn't even know, and I've either talked to or worked with some of these agencies and law enforcement in civilian capacity," Mayes said. "So, I was surprised that it was as interesting as it was to me."

Officers encourage seniors to take advantage of the academy because they are an important part of the community with invaluable knowledge.

"It's really teaching them how they can be involved with the police department and letting them know that we think they're an important part of the community," Lt. Stacy Bates said. "We rely on them, a lot of them have lived here for decades."

"Some of them are just a little bit nosy too, but you know that's not a bad thing either," Mayes joked.

The crime academy is an 11-week course that gives people an different look at agencies like HPD, Huntsville Fire and Rescue, and the 911 center.

"I guarantee you go one time and you'll be wanting to come back," Mayes said.

While the course helps seniors protect the community, the classes also increase their personal security too with info about scams and elder law.

"I think we're more trusting maybe and therefore may be more vulnerable," Mayes said.

The next classes begin on August 10. They are held on Thursday afternoons from 1 to 4 for 11 weeks. Organizers said anyone who can make the meetings is welcome, you don't have to be a senior.

If you are interested, call Mrs. Pat Colson at (256) 859-3919. You can also find more information on www.huntsvilleal.gov.