Citizen Police Academy

What is the Citizen's Police Academy?


The Citizens Police Academy is a ten week/35 hour course designed to give West St. Paul and Mendota Heights citizens a working knowledge of the operations and responsibilities of the West St. Paul and Mendota Heights Police. The ultimate goal is providing citizen participants with in-depth information and insight needed to build trust and increase positive interaction between police and the community.

What areas are covered?


Lectures and demonstrations of the following subjects and others are included:
  • Criminal Investigations/Search Seizure
  • Police Patrol Procedures
  • Defensive Tactics/Use of Force
  • Use of Firearms
  • Dakota County Jail Tour
  • Dakota County Communication Center Tour
  • DWI Night w/Participants
  • Domestic Violence 
  • MAAG/SWAT Hands on Scenarios
  • Tour of Police Facility/Ride Along

Who may attend the academy?


Any person who is at least 18 years old and  either lives or owns a business in West St. Paul or Mendota Heights can apply.  All eligible applicants will be screened by conducting a criminal history check (a prior criminal conviction will not automatically disqualify an applicant).  For safety reasons, we reserve the right to deny participation in any activity.  The police academy includes  physical and sensory activity including strobe lights, loud sounds, use of weapons, etc.

How is the class conducted?


Participants receive instruction from police officers and other criminal justice professionals. Snacks and beverages are provided. 

Is there a fee?


No. The academy is free to persons who either live or own a business in West St. Paul, Mendota Heights, Lilydale, Mendota, or Sunfish Lake.

How can information from this course be used by police and citizens?


We hope that the Academy will be more than just a learning experience for participants. It is hoped that citizens will use this opportunity to share with us their information, ideas, and opinions on how to control and prevent crime in the community.  Our officers are looking forward to working with and getting to know citizens outside of their normal law enforcement work environment.

Improving police and community cooperation


We believe that the more information the public has about the police, the more citizens will be able to work in partnership with officers to control crime – police can’t put an end to crime alone.

Often, conflicts between police and citizens are the result of misunderstanding or incorrect information on police policies and procedures. Through education, these conflicts can be reduced or eliminated.

We hope the graduates of the Citizen Police Academy will take their knowledge into the community and educate others when the opportunity arises, thereby helping to keep the Cities of West St. Paul, Mendota Heights, Lilydale, Mendota and Sunfish Lake, great places to live and work.

Proven Results!


During the academy citizens will learn the role of police officers and experience some of the everyday challenges officers face. It is our hope that graduates will gain a better understanding of how the police department functions and spread the message of the  importance of strong citizen and police partnerships. These strong partnerships are the foundation of safe communities. Some graduates of the academy have gone on to become     Community Service Volunteers and Police Reserve Officers.