Citizens' Police Academy

The Watertown Police Department is pleased to offer an exciting opportunity for members of the community to become closely acquainted with the roles and responsibilities of the Police Department. The Citizens’ Police Academy is an interactive program that focuses on educating citizens about the police department’s mission, function, practices, and processes. The Citizens’ Police Academy brings the police and the community close together in a setting that offers a sample of police training to each participant.

Participants receive three hours of training one evening each week for 12 weeks. They experience some of the highlights of police training and are exposed to the operations of the department. Participants are taught the basics of criminal law, search and seizure, patrol tactics, and many other subjects.

This is an extremely hands-on experience. Participants do not just listen to lectures about police procedures. Instead, they actually make castings of shoeprints, lift latent fingerprints, and photograph mock crime scenes. They see firsthand the different tools and techniques used by officers, are exposed to many specialty police units, and participate in simulated scenarios. All this takes place in a safe and entertaining training environment. There is no cost to attend the Academy. A similar class, the Teen Police Academy is offered every day for a week each June.

Partnerships with Mt. Marty College & Lake Area Technical Institute

The Watertown Police Department, Mt. Marty College, and Lake Area Technical Institute have an agreement through which students may be eligible to receive internship credits for attending the Citizens’ Police Academy. Interested students should check with their school’s administrative staff for additional details.

Eligibility Criteria To be eligible to participate in the Citizens’ Police Academy, applicants must:

  • Complete the application packet in its entirety.
  • Be at least 18 years of age at the time the application is submitted.
  • Live, work, or attend school in Watertown.
  • Have no felony arrests or convictions.
  • Have no misdemeanor offenses or convictions within the past two years (excluding Class II Misdemeanor traffic offenses).

Photo Gallery Spring 2012 / Fall 2012Spring 2013 /
Spring 2014 / Spring 2015

Citizens' Police Academy Agenda

Session 1 - Orientation & Tour

Participants will be introduced to the command and supervisory staff of the WPD. They will become familiar with the department’s organizational structure and will get a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility.

Session 2 - Patrol Operations &Traffic

Attendees will learn about the wide variety of incidents handled by uniformed patrol officers. They will get hands-on experience with equipment used in speed enforcement and crash investigation.

Session 3 - The Law & Investigations

Detectives will introduce some of the most commonly used state laws and explain the processes involved in investigating burglaries, robberies, assaults, and other felony crimes.

Session 4 - Drugs & Internet Crimes

Drug detectives will speak about the latest trends in local drug activity and the department’s efforts to combat this growing problem. Computer crimes experts will explain their role in child enticement and pornography investigations.

Session 5 - Crime Scene Investigation I

We will be in the WPD’s crime lab learning to develop and lift latent fingerprints, cast shoeprints, determine bullet trajectories, and photograph a crime scene.

Session 6 - Crime Scene Investigation II

Participants will put the CSI skills they learned the previous week to use while processing two full-scale mock crime scenes.

Session 7 - 911 Center & Crime Prevention

Communications Officers from the WPD’s regional 911 center will demonstrate the equipment and techniques used to get help to where it is needed. Crime prevention specialists will speak about our various community oriented programs and youth initiatives.

Session 8 - K9 Operations

The department’s K9 handlers will demonstrate the capabilities of their four-legged partners.

Session 9 - Domestic Violence & SWAT

The growing problem of domestic violence will be discussed. Special Weapons And Tactics team members will display and demonstrate the tools and equipment used to resolve high-risk incidents.

Session 10 - Our Law Enforcement Partners

Members of the court system and several surrounding law enforcement agencies will discuss their individual roles in the criminal justice process.

Session 11 - DUI Investigations

Participants will learn how and why officers use sobriety tests to conduct thorough and proper investigations into drunk driving crimes.

Session 12 - Use of Force & Graduation

A small sampling of the defensive tactics used by officers to keep themselves and the public safe. Graduation ceremony includes certificate and Academy T-shirt.