Citizen Academy

About the Citizen's Academy

The West St. Paul-South St. Paul Police Department Citizen’s Academy is an educational and informative program that allows our citizens the opportunity to learn about the issues that face law enforcement efforts in our community. The program will provide insight into the philosophy and operations of the department. The program also helps our residents better understand police work in their community and develops stronger ties between our community and police department.

Creating a Safer Environment

Community-based policing is an important and vital aspect of crime control in any community. It’s all about the police actively working with the community to prevent crime and create a safer environment. The Citizen's Academy program is yet another mechanism for police departments to inform the public of what they do, improve communication, and obtain citizen input, assistance and support throughout the community by sharing information.

Citizen's Academy Objective

The objective of a Citizen's Academy program is not to train individuals to be reserve police officers, but to produce informed citizens. The citizens and police officers meet each other face-to-face in a neutral, friendly setting and each becomes a person to the other. In the past, citizens have simply seen a uniform, but now they have an understanding about the person behind the badge.

Citizen's Academy

The goals of a Citizen's Academy program can include providing stronger citizen-police relationships, enhancing lines of communication and reducing crime in the community.

Benefits of the Citizen's Academy

As a person on the outside looking in, the role of the police has always been of interest to the average citizen. In this day and age, the television media and internet have capitalized upon their curiosity. Each week, television shows such as Cops, America’s Most Wanted and even internet websites and blogs illustrate real police action into the homes and work spaces of millions of Americans.

Knowing this, numerous police agencies in Minnesota and across the nation have also benefited from the curiosity that citizens have about the police. These agencies have formed Citizen's Academy programs that create an expansion of their community-based policing efforts.

Here are a few of the benefits of a Citizen's Academy program:

  • Academy graduates interested in continuing the partnership that develops in a Citizen's Academy continue their involvement by joining various law enforcement related volunteer programs such as:
    • Citizen's Academy Alumni Association
    • Neighborhood Watch
    • Police Reserves
  • Allows the lines of communication between the community and the police department to open
  • Our citizen involvement with the police department is enhanced
  • Our citizens gain a better understanding of how our police department works
  • Our citizens and police officers have an opportunity to work closely together
  • Our citizens gain the ability to make informed decisions regarding controversial issues facing the community and become aware of problems facing our police department


Who Can Participate

The Academy is a free nine week/27 hour course. The sessions will be held on Wednesdays from 6-9pm starting September 15th through November 10th. Any person who is at least 18 years old and either lives or owns a business in West St. Paul, South St. Paul or Sunfish Lake can apply.  All eligible applicants will be screened by conducting a criminal history check (a prior criminal conviction will not automatically disqualify an applicant). 

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
  • DWI Night w/Participants
  • MAAG/SWAT Hands on Scenarios
  • Tour of Police Facility/Ride Along
  • Judicial Process/Criminal Charging Process

Apply Now!

DEADLINE TO APPLY: August 27, 2021

For more information regarding the Academy, Contact Laura Vaughan
Crime Prevention Specialist
651-552-4235 or lvaughan@wspmn.gov