ROBESON COUNTY, N.C. (WBTW) — The Robeson County Sheriff’s Office is looking for 24 people, but it has nothing to do with a criminal investigation.

Instead, Sheriff Burnis Wilkins’ office is looking for people to take part in a newly created Citizens Academy, whose goal is to “build a better understanding” of law-enforcement efforts in the community.

The academy, which will be limited to 24 participants, will take place from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday afternoons between May 2 and June 20 in the training room of the sheriff’s office in Lumberton. It will feature classroom presentations and community involvement, and anyone 18 or older can apply.

“The curriculum and training are not what you might expect,” the department said on its website. “What we are seeking is a culturally diverse group of people including bankers, businessmen and women, judges, housewives, school teachers, media representatives, retirees and citizens from all walks of life.”

The classes will focus on “virtually every aspect of a deputy’s job,” including administration, patrol operations, traffic enforcement and communications, criminal law, SWAT and hostage negotiations, crime scene investigations and corrections.

Applications and a release form are available on the department’s website. Completed applications can be dropped off at the sheriff’s office or emailed to Lt. Ricky Williams at

The deadline to apply is March 1.

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Dennis Bright is a digital producer at News13. Dennis is a West Virginia native and graduate of Marshall University. He has won copyediting and journalism awards in Virginia and Ohio. Follow Dennis on Twitter and read more of his work here.