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How much do citizens really know about law enforcement? Today, most of what people know about law enforcement they have learned from crime-action TV shows which captivate public imagination.

Motorcycle PatrolUnfortunately, even the “real life” shows depict only the proverbial “tip of the iceberg.” Despite the constant glare of public attention, the world of law enforcement and its patrons remain mysterious to most citizens. Research tells us that 80% of the adult population has no contact at all with law enforcement officers during the year. That means that they have little or no first hand, accurate knowledge about this vitally important element of our community. This can put law enforcement at a tremendous disadvantage because it is human nature to fear or even mistrust what you do not understand.

The goal of the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Citizen Academy is to remove that veil of mystery that often surrounds law enforcement and to address many of the common myths and misconceptions about police work. It is an opportunity for citizens to learn about their local law enforcement agency. Participants of the Sheriff’s Citizen Academy will spend about three hours in a class room once a week for approximately 13 weeks. Members will learn how to handcuff and fingerprint; become familiar with the crucial difference between “reasonable suspicion” and “probable cause”; and most of all, learn how to develop confidence in their ability to make themselves and their property less attractive to criminals. They also get to spend one day at a firing range learning how to handle firearms.

FingerprintingAt the end of the 13 weeks, members will know many of the men and women of the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office as friends… because these men and women are the Academy’s faculty. Graduates of the Sheriff’s Citizen Academy may become involved in some of the volunteer programs offered by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office such as the Sheriff’s Posse.

The Sheriff’s Citizen Academy is a great program for any citizen with a criminal background free of felony convictions, who wishes to learn more about the field of law enforcement in general and about the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office in particular. The class is FREE! If you have any questions or want to learn more about the Sheriff’s Citizen Academy call Ashley Bailey at (850) 651-7153.

These are some of the topics covered during the Sheriff’s Citizen Academy:

  • Patrol Procedures
  • Crime Prevention
  • Dispatching & 9-1-1
  • Evidence
  • Crime Scene Processing
  • Criminal Investigations
  • Narcotics Enforcement
  • Florida Law / Criminal Justice
  • Traffic & DUI
  • K-9
  • Gangs
  • School Resource Officers
  • Domestic Violence
  • Child Abuse & Sex Crimes
  • Arrest Procedures
  • Media & Public Relations
  • Fugitive Warrants
  • Terrorism / Domestic Security
  • Self Defense
  • Environmental Enforcement
  • Special Response / SWAT
  • Firearms Safety
  • Fingerprinting