The concept of the Citizen Police Academy (CPA) was developed in 1977 by the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary in England. In the United States, the Orlando Police began the first "Police Night School" which evolved into the Citizen Police Academy. Today there are thousands of Citizen Police Academies throughout the world. In the Capital District the Albany and Schenectady Police Departments also sponsor CPAs.
Citizen Police Academy students are exposed to all areas of police operations from patrol, investigation, traffic, hiring, constitutional law, the court system and more. The classes are held in three hour sessions for 8 weeks. Class sessions are taught by carefully selected officers who specialize in the topic being covered.
Students are also given the opportunity to attend several optional sessions including a ride-along, firearms range, and the Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (EVOC). A graduation ceremony is held at the completion of the program.
The ultimate goal of a CPA is to reduce crime through a strong bond between the citizens and their police department. This is in keeping with the philosophy of community policing.
The general objectives of the Citizen Police Academy will be to:
The graduates of the Citizen's Police Academy will be familiarized with the operations of the Colonie Police Department and will have gained a deeper understanding of problems facing officers and the laws that govern their conduct. The graduates of the academy will take this new knowledge into the community and share it with their neighbors. The graduates of the academy will be able to make decisions which affect the police department and the Town with a heightened awareness and better information.
This program will ultimately assist in the reduction of crime through deeper support of the Colonie Police Department. This added support and confidence will result in a commitment by the community to report crime, report suspicious activities, comply with security measures, and maintain involvement in neighborhood groups. This is in accord with the Colonie Police Department's community oriented philosophy.