HPD offering first Citizen Academy in two decades

HELENA – The Helena Police Department is offering its first Citizen Academy in over two decades, to help Helena resident learn about various aspects of law enforcement in the context of the criminal justice system.  

The Citizen Academy is a free information course, which is presented as a series of talks and demonstrations about municipal police work.  

HPD wants to continue to enhance their relationship with the community and its Police Department. This eight-week course will allow citizens to get a first-hand look at the Police Department and how its operations are handled, citizens take away a better understanding of the police role in the community and produce informed citizens, according to HPD. 

"I think it's important for not only the citizens going, but also our police officers,” says Lieutenant Brett Petty. “We are going to have a lot of police officers that normally don't get this opportunity to be in this setting and kind of teach what they do." 

The Citizen Academy is designed to be interactive and involves lectures, demonstrations, practical exercises and an environment for open discussions. Topics are to include but not limited to the following: patrol operations, DUI enforcement, crime prevention, crime scene investigation, Police K9 demonstration, Swat operations and the drug task force. 

The Police Department instructors will provide hands on training and an opportunity to learn about policing in a fun and safe environment and an interactive experience into police work. This a free program and is open to the City of Helena and Lewis and Clark County residents who are over the age of 18. 

The course will begin on Tuesday April 7th and go through May 26th. Academy classes will be held on Tuesdays from 6:30 – 9 p.m. The sessions are conducted by HPD Officers. 

Applicants will be subject to a criminal history record verification prior to their approval to participate in the course. Those with felony arrests or convictions will not be accepted.  

To sign up for the academy, people may visit the HPD Facebook page, or contact Lt. Petty at 406-457-8830 or email helenapolicedepartment@helenamt.gov. Applications can also be picked up at the Law & Justice Center located at 406 Fuller Ave. The deadline to register is March 13th. 

The class size is limited to 25 students. Preference for course participation will be given to Helena residents, with enrollment made on a first-come, first-served basis. 

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