The Charles County Sheriff’s Office hosts an annual Citizens Police Academy (CPA) each fall. This 12-week program typically begins in September and runs through December, when a graduation ceremony is held. The classes are held in various locations, to include the CCSO Headquarters, District 3 Station, Community Services Annex, Crime Lab, Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy, and the Charles County Courthouse.

“The Citizens Police Academy is one of the most valuable programs that we host,” said Sheriff Troy Berry. “It enhances the relationship between police and the community, it gives community members the opportunity to go behind the scenes of the CCSO, and it allows us to connect with people and understand their perception of law enforcement. ”

Participants learn about a wide range of topics, including:

• Patrol Procedures

• Narcotics Investigations

• Forensic Evidence

• Criminal Law

• Juvenile Issues

• Use of Force

• Criminal Investigations

• Search and Seizure

Participants also get hands-on experiences to include a Firearms Training Simulator (FATS) and crime scene processing. They have the opportunity to ride with a police officer and to experience policing from an officer’s perspective. Participation in the Ride-along Program is not required but is strongly encouraged.

The Citizens Police Academy is a valuable opportunity for anyone who is interested in learning more about the realities of policing. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and residents of Charles County. Individuals who wish to apply will be subject to a background check. This program is free of charge. There are a limited number of seats available.

The application period for the Citizens Police Academy usually begins in the Summer and is announced on social media.