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 #5

Apr 29, 2017, 17:04 PM
On Thursday March 31st, 2016 the CPA focused on crime scene and evidence processing. The class was led by CSO Chris Saffell, with assistance from Officers Marty DePerte, Bill Stashkiw, Kirk Helgesen and Detective Tracy Pugliese.

Chris started off by asking the class if we have all seen “CSI” on TV, and then explained how that is NOT reality. Crimes are never “solved” in 60 minutes, especially when forensic data needs to be gathered, processed, packaged, analyzed, interpreted, documented, and preserved. Gurnee has 18 evidence technicians. Each work closely with the Northeastern Illinois Regional Crime Laboratory personnel specifically on physical evidence.

The class split up into four groups and we had a made up crime described to the group. Then we rotated through stages of the mock crime scene to try our hands at being evidence technicians. We had Tracy leading the fingerprinting and blood evidence portion. She explained the differences in various finger printer powders and under which circumstances you would use each type. Then we got to collect a sample from a stain and field-test it for the presumptive presence of blood.

Then we moved into the room where the actual (mock) crime occurred. Kirk Helgesen explained bullets, their lands and groves, bullet trajectory and guns in general. This was very informative and everyone walked away with much more knowledge of this subject. We went over victim and witness statements, then compared those with what the crime scene evidence seemed to be indicating.  

The next stage was footprint impressions. We had a volunteer use his footwear to make a footprint and Chris showed us the different items they can use to collect this evidence. My group had lots of questions and Chris answered all of them. With her many years of service (over 30), it’s obvious she is an expert in her field.

Week #6 (04/07/16) will focus on automated traffic enforcement, the investigations division, and crime prevention.