The Rochester Police Department is once again offering its Citizens Police Academy this spring.

The Rochester Police Department is once again offering its Citizens Police Academy this spring.

Photo provided by the Rochester Police Department

Citizens Police Academy offers inside look

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published March 20, 2024


ROCHESTER — The Rochester Police Department is giving community members a glimpse into the life of a police officer with its Citizens Police Academy.

The department launched the program in 2018 with 15 participants, and it was so popular that it was expanded over the years to include more topics.

“We want people to understand what we do as law enforcement officers, why we do it and how we do it. There’s a lot of misconceptions out there, and we just want to make certain that people know why we do certain things,” Rochester Police Chief George Rouhib said. “More importantly, this is about building relationships with our residents.”

This year’s 10-week program will be held 7-9 p.m. Thursdays at the Rochester Fire Station starting April 11.

“We’re going to go over just about everything,” Rouhib said. “We’re going to try to cover as many areas in law enforcement as we can.”

Participants will learn about department operations, dispatch and communications center programs, crime prevention, investigations, the use of force, the patrol division, and the criminal justice system. Rouhib said portions of the academy may include physical activities during hands-on scenarios and may require extended periods of standing or walking.

“We’ll have a lot of reality training and different scenarios they can practice on,” Rouhib said.

Rochester Police Sgt. Mark Lyon, who coordinates the program, said the academy is a way for the public to engage with police officers — gaining insight into their roles and responsibilities and an understanding of how the criminal justice system functions.

“We offer a lot of sessions in the program that cover topics that people just maybe do not know about, or maybe it’s a service that we offer that they weren’t aware of,” Lyon said.

The academy, which will conclude June 13, is open to all who live, work or own a business in Rochester. Applicants must be a minimum of 18 years old, never have been convicted of a felony or a violent misdemeanor, and have no misdemeanor convictions within the last two years. The program is free.

To apply online, visit before April 1. Applications are also available at the front desk of the Rochester Police Department, 400 Sixth St. Residents can also complete the application and mail or drop it off to the Rochester Police Department, Citizens Police Academy Applications, 400 Sixth St., Rochester, MI 48307.

Lyon said several Citizens Police Academy attendees have gone on to join the city’s Community Emergency Response Team, offered through the Rochester Fire Department. CERT members are taught basic disaster response skills — such as fire suppression, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, and team organization — which allows them to help first responders in the event of a major disaster or as needed at major community events, including the Art and Apples Festival; the Rochester Hometown Christmas Parade; Lagniappe; The Big, Bright Light Show; and many others. They have also assisted in various search-and-rescue operations in the area.

“There have definitely been people that are interested in volunteering in the community that have come through the program and followed up with the CERT program,” he said.

The Rochester Police Department is responsible for all police services within the 3.8-square-mile boundaries of the city.

For more information about the Citizens Police Academy, call (248) 651-9621.