Citizens Academy

What is a Citizens Academy?


The Citizens Police Academy is a police program designed to give citizens a greater understanding of law enforcement. This program provides insight into the philosophy and operations of the department. During the 8-week academy, citizens have the opportunity to interact with officers, ask questions and exchange perspectives.

What is the purpose of the Academy?

The academy is designed to increase understanding between our citizens and police through education. Our intent is to acquaint citizens with law enforcement’s role in the criminal justice system and  provide an increased understanding of the tasks police officers face every day.

Who teaches the Academy sessions?

The instructors are officers from the St. Helens Police Department and other members of the criminal justice community. The instructors will bring a wide range of experiences to each class.

What subjects are included?

The sessions include information about police patrol, criminal investigations, firearms, criminal and procedural law, traffic law, accident investigation, crime prevention and officer safety. In one session Academy members will learn about the defensive tactics used by police officers and participate in hands on demonstrations. In addition, students will be given instruction on the use of pepper spray and participate in simulated attacks. During the Academy, students will be given a chance to ride in a patrol car and see first hand what police officers see and hear. In addition, students will take a tour of the Columbia County Jail and the 9-1-1 dispatch center. During the firearms portion of the class, participants will be given a chance to use a police firearm and see a demonstration of other law enforcement tools, including less-lethal weapons.

When and where are the academy lessons?

Classes are held one night per week and then on one Saturday afternoon. Check this page often for updates on future citizens academy dates and locations.

How are participants selected?

Our hope is that the Citizens Academy will reflect the broadest range of people within our community. We will include men and women, young and old, and representatives of all ethnic, cultural and civic groups.

There is no fee for the academy and you must be eighteen years old to attend.