In 1998, Arlington County joined a growing number of communities nationwide who were switching to Community Policing, a philosophy and practice that seeks to involve all concerned citizens in the safety and welfare of their community. The Arlington County Citizen’s Police Academy (CPA) is a product of this philosophy.
About the Citizen’s Police Academy
The CPA is an educational program designed to create better understanding and communication between police and the citizens they serve. The intent of the CPA is to make participants aware of how the Arlington County Police Department operates and its role in the community. Participants are given an opportunity to increase their understanding of how police officers are trained and to experience the working environment of a police officer.
The CPA is a two-way education process. Academy participants, who often have had limited exposure to the inner workings of a Police Department, are presented with the opportunity to voice their concerns and questions about how the Arlington County Police Department functions. The Department will have an opportunity to get an understanding of how citizens feel about their Police Department.
Some of the topics of discussion include: police hiring, legal considerations, use of force, mental health and crisis interventions, homelessness, business outreach, criminal investigations, the K9 unit, tactical operations, and patrol operations.
The CPA is a ten-week program. The CPA will be an interactive, discussion-based learning experience featuring panel discussions, as well as practical exercises and hands-on training. Classes are presented by officers, civilian staff and volunteers of the police department and participants have an opportunity to voice their concerns and questions about how the department functions.
Classes will be held on Thursdays from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at an Arlington County facility large enough to allow for social distancing and maintain compliance with COVID-19 safety protocols. All attendees must wear a face covering during the sessions. One session will take place on a Saturday at an off-site location outside of Arlington County. To receive a graduation certificate, participants must attend at least 8 out of 10 sessions.
Interested applicants must be at least 18 years old, have no felony convictions and should live, work, attend school, or be otherwise affiliated or engaged with Arlington community organizations. Due to the nature of the material being covered and that the CPA is held in a secure facility, a background check will be completed on each applicant. Class size is limited, and every effort will be made to maintain a balanced enrollment reflective of the total community. Applications for the Fall 2020 CPA will open on Thursday August 6, 2020, and be accepted until Thursday, August 13, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. The application period will be announced via the Department’s social media channels and in a news release.