Tuesday, March 12, 2013


On March 15th, registration opens for the Writer’s Police Academy. This three day hands-on workshop is instructed by actual police, investigators, crime lab specialists, corrections officers, undercover detectives, forensic experts, K9 handlers, firearm instructors, and first responders. If you write crime fiction, I can’t recommend this program highly enough. You can read more about it here, and you can register here.

But the WPA isn’t the only place to learn about police procedure. The answers you need to become a more informed writer (or more critical reader) are right in your own backyard, at your local Citizens’ Police Academy.

The concept for a Citizens’ Police Academy was born in the UK in the 1970s, beginning as a night school for regular citizens with an interest in learning about police procedure. The concept made its way to the US almost a decade later, and became the first Citizens’ Police Academy in Orlando, FL in 1985, with the goal of reducing crime through a stronger citizen commitment to the police department. The program was an instant success, and Citizens’ Police Academies were adopted throughout the country. 

You can find local police departments with nearby academies on this national list of Citizens’ Police Academy members. Then type “citizens police academy” + the name of the county/city of your nearest CPA program in your favorite search engine. Most police departments have a page dedicated to their CPA program, if one is offered.

What happens at CPA?  Most Citizens’ Police Academies offer a wide range of classes, including: Patrol Operations, Special Investigations (ie: V.I.C.E., Narcotics, Gangs), Jail Tours, Domestic Violence, Animal Control, Firearms Safety, Basic Criminal Law, Crime Analysis, Crime Prevention, Forensics, K-9 Demonstrations, DUI & SET Units, SWAT Team, Bomb Squad, Professional Standards, Criminal Investigations, and even Ride-Along Programs. Programs generally require 30-40 hours of classroom time, spread between one and twelve weeks, and may offer more than one session per year. At the conclusion of the program, most departments offer a graduation ceremony, and some even offer alumni groups. Best of all, most of these programs are free of charge!

So what are you waiting for? Will we see you at the Writer’s Police Academy in September? No? Then get thee to your local Citizens’ Police Academy and report back! We’d love to feature you on our blog and read about your experience!


  1. Holy cow, we have one in my very own town--starting in a week. I had no idea. Thanks for the deets!!

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