Gainesville PD citizen academy enrollment open

Jan. 18—Gainesville Police Department is hosting its Citizen Police Academy. This 10-week class is hosted twice a year to educate members of the community of what all the GPD does for the city.

The classes are from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. each Tuesday night starting Feb. 6 with a week off for Spring Break and a graduation ceremony on April 23.

"Typically there are two different presentations per night," said Captain Tom Reynolds, who heads the academy. "For instance, the very first night is the welcome and tour of the facility, looking at police vehicles, and then our chief does the history of the Gainesville Police Department going back to the 1800's. Then each week, there's one or two presenters that do different topics throughout the entire academy."

The program was started in 2004 and was revamped in 2007. Since then, the citizen police academy has been held every year except for 2020 and 2021 due to COVID.

"It definitely was an eye-opener," said Michelle Matta, who went through the academy with her husband Everett during the Fall 2023 session. "It's very easy-paced, open to questions ... There was way more information than I could dream of that the police were involved in; I didn't realize there were so many aspects."

The course covers everything from the hiring process and juvenile law to gangs and firearm safety.