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The Port St. Lucie Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy is an extension of our agency’s community oriented policing philosophy. Succinctly stated, the program offers citizens of Port St. Lucie a glimpse into their police department’s inner workings. The academy helps to formulate flesh onto the skeletal understanding most people have about law enforcement.
Developed as a program that facilitates the intertwining of law abiding citizens into the police culture, a culture that is often misunderstood, the Citizens Police Academy has experienced enormous positive results in bridging the gap between cop and community. All too often, for a variety of reasons, a mind-set of "us vs. them" can develop amongst police officers and the citizens they serve. The Citizens Police Academy is a dynamic step toward dispelling that phenomena and encouraging the City’s citizens and members of the department to work together as a team in maintaining a high quality of life within "their" community.
The Citizens Police Academy is an arm of and coordinated by the Training section of the agency. In an attempt to familiarize academy participants with our agency, instructors are selected from every sector of the department. Members of the class are afforded the opportunity to listen to presentations by and interact with representatives of the command staff, Neighborhood Policing Bureau, Criminal Investigations Division, Support Services areas, specialty units like the Special Response Team and K-9.
The Citizens Police Academy is offered semiannually and entails a total of 50 hours of instruction. Two three-hour evenings per week for eight weeks and an eight-hour field trip which exposes members to the SWAT team, 911 operations, firearms training, and various specialty unit demonstrations make up the program. During their field trip, academy participants are instructed in firearms safety and provided the opportunity to shoot a firearm similar to the weapon issued to our sworn officers.
To date, our department has conducted 17 Citizens Police Academy classes with approximately 350 graduates. Many who complete their training go on to become active police department volunteers within the agency; however, the vast majority, if not all, return to their community as better informed supporters of our agency’s overall mission.
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