Cops & Me

I’ve been arrested, handcuffed, and patted down numerous times. I’ve been held hostage, shot, and even killed on more than one occasion. And I’ve done it all as a volunteer role player for officer training scenarios.

As a graduate of my local citizens’ police academy, I’ve had the opportunity to assist our police department in a variety of ways. Volunteering as a role player is my favorite.

Many police and sheriff departments offer a citizens’ police academy. Some are free. Some charge a nominal fee for materials. While these CPA’s differ among law enforcement agencies, generally classes are presented on search and seizure laws, police procedure, officer safety, investigations, forensics, crime analysis, communications, SWAT, and whatever else that agency chooses to include.

Citizens who attend a CPA will learn from officers what police do, how they do it, and why they do it that way. Attendees must pass a background check.

CPA attendees will graduate with a better understanding of their law enforcement agency, how it operates and relates to the community it serves, what to do as a crime victim or witness, and how to protect themselves from becoming a victim of crime.

CPA’s provide law enforcement agencies the opportunity to interact with citizens in a positive way and to promote mutually beneficial understanding and cooperation. Through the subsequent creation of citizens’ police academy alumni associations, communication can continue and may provide volunteers.

Check with your local law enforcement agency to determine if they offer a CPA.

To learn how to start a CPA or a CPA Alumni Association, please visit the website for the National Citizens Police Academy Association.

To report a crime anonymously call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the Crime Stoppers website.