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Citizens Police Academy

The Park Ridge Police Department (PRPD) is beginning its sixth Citizen’s Police Academy (CPA) class. Held twice a year, generally in the Spring and again in the Fall, the 10-week long CPA class introduces participants to a variety of topics including: the officer testing/hiring/training process, multi-jurisdictional resources, PRPD Traffic Unit, DUI enforcement, traffic stops, computer crime, identity theft, PRPD Investigations Division, use of force, firearms training, evidence processing, and the PRPD Major Crash Unit. In addition, a special guest speaker from the Cook County States Attorney Office and a local, nationally known forensic dentist provide additional information and insight.

What is the Citizen’s Police Academy
The Park Ridge Police Department supports the concept that communication and education has been most effective in gaining understanding and support from the community.  Through implementation of the Citizen Police Academy, our department hopes to offer citizens new insights into how police officers perform their duties, as well as how the department services the community.

In 1977, the Devon & Cornwall Constabulary, Middlemoor, Exetor in England established the first “Police Night School”.  The pilot course indicated that a ten-week course was sufficient to meet the basic information requirement.  This initial group quickly developed friendships, which enhanced discussion, and it became apparent n the early stages of the course that the most informed members of the public were
actually unaware of the complexities of police work.

In 1985, the first Citizen Police Academy in the United States was established in Florida, by the Orlando Police Department.  The well-publicized Academy was such an instantaneous success, it led to the formation of academies throughout the United States.

Mission of the Academy
The purpose of the Citizen Police Academy is to foster better communication between citizens and police through education.  The Academy will create a nucleus of well-informed citizens who possess greater insight into police practices and services.  It is hoped that graduates of the Academy will share this new knowledge with other members of the community as the opportunity arises.  Everyone benefits from
enhancing citizen understanding of the role and function of their police department.  

Put another way, going beyond the various topics of instruction, the essence of the academy concept is to provide a mechanism for educating the public about the criminal justice system and the role the Park Ridge Police Department plays that is more reflective of everyday police work, all in an effort to ultimately increase the understanding between citizens and police. Goals include building a partnership with the community through increased communication between participants and the police as well as educating our officers about the perceptions and concerns of our citizens.    

Some of the specifics of the academy are as follows:

Who:  Anyone who lives or works within the City of Park Ridge that is 21 years of age or older.
Requirements:  No felony convictions and pass a simple background check.  Applicants will be
notified in writing as to whether they have been accepted, denied or placed on a waiting list for a future class.     
Duration:  10 Weeks
When:  Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday Evenings from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm
Dates:  Varied Spring and Fall
What:  Classes will include a combination of discussion and hands-on experiences ranging in such topics as Evidence Processing, Traffic Unit functions, Investigations, Multi-jurisdictional Response Teams, Firearms Safety and Training, and more. 
Cost:  Free 
Participants will also have the option of conducting a ride along with a police officer on patrol.

Those wishing to apply, click here to download the application, or just seeking more information about the Citizens' Police Academy, can contact the Park Ridge Police Department at 847-318-5252. Applications may be picked up in person at the Police Department located at 200 S. Vine Ave.

If there are any questions, please contact Commander Jason Leavitt.

Contact Information

Phone (847) 318-5252
Fax (847) 318-5308

200 S Vine Ave
Park Ridge IL 60068-6000

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