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      Citizen Public Safety Academy returning to North Charleston

      By Ava Wilhiteawilhite@abcnews4.com

      NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) One North Charleston neighborhood leader says bringing back a city program could be the answer to lowering crime rates.{}

      The Citizen Public Safety Academy will start again this Spring.

      Midland Park is Lydia Cotton's neighborhood. She calls the area the most diverse section of North Charleston. It's an area she says changed drastically because of communication with the city.

      "When you don't know what the city offers in each department you really are clueless when you don't take advantage of that opportunity," said Cotton. {}

      Cotton is an Hispanic liaison with the North Charleston Police Department. For the past few years she's helped facilitate the needs of her community to the city and the city's needs to her community.

      Now she says there's an opportunity for others to help.

      "I challenge the community to think about it, it's up to us, there is no more excuses as why we should not learn about what is happening in our city," said Cotton. {}

      Cotton's challenge is for people in the Midland Park area to join the revised Citizens Public Safety Academy.

      "By them becoming better informed about what we do, it certainly makes our job easier as well. We want you to understand why we're doing what we're doing," said Chief Miller with the North Charleston Fire Department.

      This time, the 11-week program will include not just the police department, but the fire department, code enforcement and permits and inspections from the building department.

      Police Chief Eddie Driggers says no recent incident or shooting prompted the resurgence of the program; they're just answering a need in the community.

      "You just can't fight crime without having the community on board. You can't have the community on board unless you educate them in what's going on in this community," says Driggers. {}

      The academy will be held twice: one session in the spring and the other in the summer. Interested candidate must pass a background check.

      For more information call Sgt. Andrew Glover at 843-740-2648.{}

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