Gurnee Citizen Police Academy

The Gurnee Citizen Police Academy is a 36-hour block of instruction designed to give the public a working knowledge of the practices, policies, and procedures governing the police department. The instruction consists of twelve 3-hour blocks conducted on a weekly basis. Participants must be at least 18 years of age and of good moral character with no felony convictions.

Classes are held each Thursday evening from 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm. Anyone interested in attending the 12 week FREE course can obtain an application by contacting Deputy Chief Saundra Campbell at (847) 599-7050 or via email.

Class #27 started on March 3rd, 2016. For the following 13 weeks students in the class shared the duty of writing an article about each class and their experiences. Their writings are below:

Week #12

Apr 29, 2017, 17:12 PM

On Thursday evening May 19th I attended the final session of the Gurnee Police CPA. It is in this session where all aspects of “deadly force” are presented. In my opinion, it is the most significant session of all because it places a spotlight on the extreme risk police officers must be prepared to face.

In a split second an officer must consider the immediate and long-lasting impact of utilizing deadly force. As such, the department provides officers with extensive and ongoing physical and emotional training surrounding the many facets of a deadly force encounter.

In the classroom setting, students see and hear real life videos from other areas of the U.S where officers have been killed. Officers are put through training simulations where they find themselves in a shoot/don’t shoot scenario. In the department’s training and practice range, officers live-fire pistol, rifle, and shotgun; the firearms officers are authorized and qualified to deploy in the field.

Among other related topics in the session are:

  • Safety rules for handling weapons: 1) assume any gun is loaded, 2) don’t point a weapon unless you’re willing or needing to shoot, 3) finger off the trigger until ready to shoot, and 4) know what your target is and what lies beyond it.
  • The workings and performance of each weapon and ammunition used by the department. We learned a bullet leaving the muzzle of a department-issued rifle does so at an astounding 3,250 feet per second!
  • How an officer can manage the physiological responses he/she can experience to a use of force confrontation.
  • To only use deadly force the thwart deadly force.

In closing, I believe the weapons session is the most “human,” in that it’s the class where I felt the strongest association directly with the officers. Many of them are young enough for me to be their parent, and they have children that could be my grandchildren. When I see them on duty, and only if it’s feasible, I stop what I’m doing to say hello and thank them for what they do for us. I also make sure to tell them to be careful.

I think the development of a sense of bonding and support to and for our officers is a big part of what the Gurnee Citizen’s Police Academy accomplishes.

Week #13, May 26th, 2016, will be class graduation.

Joe Vetrano, President, Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association