Want to learn more about the police agencies serving Kalamazoo County? The Kalamazoo Regional Citizens Academy offers participants an insider’s look at law enforcement and an opportunity to discuss many of the important issues that impact officers every single day.
The Kalamazoo Regional Citizens Academy is a dynamic, 2-day training session filled with multiple hands-on opportunities. It’s hosted by the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety in collaboration with many local police agencies to include the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office, Kalamazoo Township Police Department, Western Michigan University Police Department, Portage Department of Public Safety, Michigan State Police, and Drug Enforcement Administration.
The goals of the Kalamazoo Regional Citizens Academy are to increase public awareness of law enforcement operations, improve communication, and facilitate an opportunity for honest dialogue between community partners and law enforcement. Additionally, we hope to humanize the badge worn by the men and women in Kalamazoo County to help break down barriers and increase trust. By forming positive partnerships, we hope to collaborate more effectively with the community to problem-solve and create a safer community for all.
The Kalamazoo Regional Citizens Academy is offered completely free of charge to participants. However, the Academy requires a two-day time commitment from participants. Due to the vast amount of invaluable information covered in just two days, applicants unable to commit to attending both days may be deferred to a later academy session.
The Kalamazoo Regional Citizens Academy is hosted twice a year, once in the Spring and once in the Fall. The Academy runs on two consecutive Saturdays from approximately 7 am until 4 pm. Breakfast and lunch are provided daily.
- Session 3: May 6 & May 13, 2023- Session open (Applications are due no later than March 31, 2023)- Seats are limited
- Session 4: Fall 2023 Dates TBD- Session open- Seats are limited
The Kalamazoo Regional Citizens Academy includes presentations, discussions, and hands-on opportunities relating to a series of important policing topics to include:
- Use of force decision making
- Conducting traffic stops
- Firearms use
- Patrol readiness
- Law enforcement specialty units (canine team, SWAT team, aviation team, bomb squad)
- Mental health partnerships
- Role of internal affairs
- De-escalation techniques
- Handling domestic assault incidents
Participants also go through scenario-based training exercises and have the opportunity to use an interactive decision-making simulator.
Wally F.: “The two days allowed for honest dialogue around heavy questions that were answered with directness, kindness, humor, and candor from both civilians and uniformed personnel alike. Your team welcomes disagreement, in a safe environment, and viewed it as an opportunity to see each other as equals and have frank conversation that acknowledged the difference in perspective… Most importantly, your program allows civilians to see the human behind the badge and creates an opportunity to learn about the lives of those who put theirs in danger every day in the line of duty to protect and serve the diverse, unique, and healing community of greater-Kalamazoo in which we all call home.”
Jason A.: “I would highly recommend it to anyone that has an open mind and a brick to bring to build a bridge for improved police and community relationships… I cannot fully articulate to you how much I really enjoyed the academy. It opened my eyes to a unique perspective when it comes to law enforcement. I have gained a better appreciation for an officer’s daily activities and the outside stressors that could impact the manner that an officer performs his tasks.”
Claudia E.: “I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it and how well organized it was. It was a great experience to see a little behind the scenes of what PSO’s and firefighters deal with on a daily basis.”
Seats are limited, so we recommend applying early. All participants must meet the following eligibility guidelines:
- Live or work in Kalamazoo County
- Be at least 18 years old
Additionally, a background review will be conducted on each applicant and the Kalamazoo Regional Citizens Academy reserves the right to deny entry into the Academy based on a background review.
Applicants will be informed in writing if they have been accepted, denied, or placed on a waiting list for a future session.