Citizen's Academy to Begin Wednesday - News, Sports and Weather

Citizen's Academy to Begin Wednesday

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Wednesday night will begin the first of two Great Falls Citizen's Academy sessions at the Great Falls Police Department.  Those who signed up, will have the opportunity to learn how Great Falls Police handles day to day situations from an officer's point of view.

The Great Falls Police Department tomorrow begins its Spring Citizen's Academy. It gives those who take part in it, a different look at the police department.  From there, citizens get a more detailed look at the in's and out's of the police department which includes how the work with outside entities, and educate the variety of participants and their backgrounds on what a police officer sees on a day to day basis.

Officer Brian Smail, who is a key contributor to the event's organization said "the first night is introduction.  From there we go into all aspects of the police department from detectives for special cases.  We bring in different entities from the city, probation and parole, we get a judge that comes in, prosecuting attorney's, and defense attorney's.  Pretty much everything that goes on here, they get to see."

The course, which is now longer than what they have been, present several unique factors and one invaluable lesson that those who partake in the session learn about officers and one another.

Smail said, "The best part is, is it's people who give up their time, that want to know what it is their police department does in the community.  That is invaluable."

According to Officer Smail, some of these citizens take the next step with the department saying, "a lot of them now are turning and going into our Volunteer Program.  So they want to do something for the police department.  Spend some time and do some things that help the department.  The kind of mundane, tedious things that we don't have time to do that they can help us with, and it's been great."

And there are other aspects that those participating can personally experience.

Smail noted that "tazer night is probably one of the funnest nights we have, and we try to get as many volunteers as we can.  They experience a tazer, something it seems that they want to experience, and then they know not to fight with police anymore.  We expose them to OC, we do hot stops.  Canine night is fun.  We'll actually get a couple of volunteers to take a dog bite."

While the spring class is full, there is on in the fall, but GFPD says act fast.  Smail said that those interested can "go to the city web page, you can go to Citizen's Academy on there and then there is a form you fill out, and it gets emailed to me and then we do a background check."

You can sign up at, and then find Citizen's Academy under the Special Programs tab.

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