"When we were driving, we were almost hit head-on," Hickerson added. "We're on our way to a robbery, going down Route 100, and people were not pulling over. I was concerned with the way the other people were driving."
After riding along, students had a chance to drive a police vehicle themselves - only this time, through an obstacle course with lights and sirens on.
"It was my first time behind the wheel of a police car," Hlass said. "It reminded me of my days as a military pilot."
After graduation, the students felt confident they could distinguish between television's version of police work and the real thing.
"It's surprising; it's nothing like on TV," Hickerson said. "CSI solves crimes in an hour minus commercials. You don't see the full depth and the intensity of going to a crime scene or setting up traffic patrols for hours. The SWAT team is on call, and it could be hours before they get home again."
"In real life, DNA evidence takes months to come back," Nelson said.
The next Howard County Citizens' Police Academy will be held in April.