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Citizens Police Academy

Student fingerprinting in classroom

About the Basic Citizens Police Academy

The Basic Citizens Police Academy is a detailed course designed to foster increased understanding and communication between community members and the police. The Citizens Police Academy runs for eight consecutive Wednesday nights, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at various City of Palo Alto facilities. Instructors are public safety employees who present on topics such as patrol procedures, laws of arrest, search and seizure, community relations, criminal investigations, evidence collection, police accountability, use of force and officer safety, disaster preparedness, and more. Students are also able to go on a ride-along with a patrol officer, participate in a “sit-a-long” with our public safety dispatchers, and experience a force options video simulator.



Applicants must be at least 14 years old, live or work in Palo Alto or the immediate surrounding community, be free of felony convictions, not have a misdemeanor conviction within the past year, and be able to successfully complete a criminal background check. After submitting the written application, applicants will have an interview with the Citizens Police Academy coordinator before the criminal background check is performed. Preference is given to Palo Alto residents and students, community members who work in Palo Alto, and people employed by the City of Palo Alto.

Advanced Citizens Police Academy

Advanced Citizens Police Academy courses are available to graduates of the Basic Citizens Police Academy. They are free one-night sessions that focus on a particular area or specialty within law enforcement. Past Advanced Citizens Police Academy topics have included sexual assault investigations, identity theft protection, SWAT, and more. Invitations are sent out to graduates of the Basic Citizens Academy.


Interested members of the community may download a Basic Citizens Police Academy application. Completed applications should be e-mailed to, sent via U.S. Mail to the Palo Alto Police Department (attention to Citizens Police Academy), or dropped off at the front desk of the police station during normal business hours (Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.).


For questions or additional information, please send an e-mail message to


Download Application