Citizens Academy

Citizens Academy 2018_02

The Zionsville Police Department is proud to provide a unique opportunity for citizens to attend training classes covering the operation of your police department and to experience a window into some of the training required to become a police officer.

In today’s world, citizens can have an inaccurate view of the profession of law enforcement. Some of these views are shaped by exposure to news reports, Hollywood movies and fictional television shows. It is our expectation to provide an accurate view of the real world of law enforcement for our participants.

Sir Robert Peel, the founder of modern policing, stated, “Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police.” This factual statement is one of the cornerstones for our implementation of this informative program.  

History of Citizens Police Academies 

The concept of the Citizens Police Academy actually started in the United Kingdom in 1977. It began in the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, England. A police night school was implemented to allow citizens, who were anxious to learn about police functions, police operations, and the organization of the police system in England. The founders received an immediate response from the public. They were soon overwhelmed with applicants wanting to know about their police force. The project was so successful that it was permanently adopted as part of an ongoing police public relations program.

In 1985, the Orlando, Florida Police Department adopted the concept of the Police Night School for their agency and created the first Citizens Police Academy in the United States. The ultimate goal of the Orlando Citizens Police Academy was to reduce crime through a stronger citizen commitment to the police department and the community. Success was instantaneous, and a new law enforcement tool was found.

Word of the success spread and, in that same year, Missouri City, Texas joined in and adopted the same concept. Today, you will find Citizen Police Academy programs throughout the United States in communities large and small. (ICPAA)

The Zionsville Police Department Citizens Academy

This eight-week academy is focused on educating citizens about the Zionsville Police Department, the organization, operations and role in the community. Class participants will gain an understanding of police department responsibilities, laws, and department procedures that govern its operation. The goal of the academy is to continue to develop the partnership between citizens and your local law enforcement agency.

Training Topics

•    History and orientation of the organizational structure

•    Tour of the police department

•    Criminal Investigations / Narcotics overview

•    Crime scene investigations

•    Police recruiting and training

•    School resource officers

•    Police K9 overview and demonstration

•    Crime lab/evidence overview and demonstration

•    Crime prevention and awareness

•    Traffic / OWI and accident reconstruction

•    Use of Force / Defensive Tactics

•    Bike Patrol overview and demonstration

•    Firearms / Active Shooter overview

•    Emergency Vehicle Operations and functions

This free academy, in its third year, will consist of eight weeks of instructions/presentations on Tuesday evenings beginning in September 2019 and concluding in November 2019.  Each class will begin at 6:30 PM and conclude at approximately 9:30 PM. Here is your opportunity to learn about the Zionsville Police Department, interact with officers and ask those questions you have always wanted to ask.

Members of the police department, many of which are certified law enforcement instructors, teach classes.  Our Citizens Academy is open to all Zionsville residents or persons who work in the Zionsville Community who are eighteen years or older.

On behalf of Chief Robert Knox, we welcome you to the Zionsville Police Departments 2018-02 Citizens Academy Class. We hope to introduce you to several aspects of law enforcement and provide you with a better understanding of our department.

A four-hour ride along with an officer will also be scheduled outside of class time. This is an excellent opportunity for you to see firsthand what the job of a police officer entails.

Classes are taught by members of the police department, many of which are certified law enforcement instructors. Our Citizens Academy is open to all Zionsville residents or persons who work in the Zionsville Community who are eighteen years old or older. Applicants with a felony criminal history will not be accepted. Limited misdemeanor history will be reviewed on a case by case basis. Participation in the Citizens Academy is at the discretion of the Chief of Police.  


"What an amazing experience. Thank you to each and all who took their time to administer and present such a wonderful 8-week experience."

"Officer Josh, Detective Liz, Lieutenant Adrian, Captain Jeff, Sargent Dennemann and Chief Knox were all first-rate with their engagement and instruction and I just loved the effort and quality of the program."

"Really enjoyed learning about the Prosecutors office, He was very knowledgeable. The dog handlers were very good at talking about their passion of the job."

"Subjects included information from the Prosecutors Office and Canine. Kent Eastwood provided info that I did not know regarding how the judicial service was set up and how the different offices worked together."

"Loved the staged accident and the hands-on experience. "

"Our second class was extremely interesting and the practical side of it enabled us to truly understand some of the techniques used at crime scenes. I am already looking forward to class 3. Thank you to all of the Officers who are so giving of their time and talents to ensure the program is as interesting and as well run as possible. "

"Can’t begin to thank the entire team for all the hours of prep work that went into this evenings activities. Thank you for such a well organized evening."


The 2019 session of the Citizens Academy has closed applications for the 2019-03 Class. 

The 2020-04 class will be held starting in September 2020 at Zionsville Municipal Services Building. The academy is free and open to Zionsville residents who are 18 and older. Citizens Academy allows residents of Zionsville to examine the inner workings of the police department allowing students to hear from staff, tour the police facility. At the end of the course, students will have a greater understanding of how the Zionsville Police Department works. The Citizens Academy meets weekly from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday evenings and runs for eight weeks.

To apply for class 2020-04, please check back with us July 2020.:

Questions, please contact:

Captain Jeff Morris or 

Sergeant Brad Kiefer

  1. Citizens Academy

    Physical Address
    1075 Parkway Drive
    Zionsville, IN 46077

    Mailing Address
    1075 Parkway Drive
    Zionsville, IN 46077

    Phone: 317-873-5967, ext 8023
    Fax: 317-873-8026