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 #8

Apr 29, 2017, 17:07 PM

This week the Citizens Police Academy learned all about traffic stops, something I'm sure most of us have had to deal with during our time behind the wheel. There was a brief classroom presentation led by Officer Tom Woodruff.

We learned there are 3 components to a traffic stop; probable cause, tactical control, and release.

Probable Cause: You might be driving over the posted limit, driving erratically, not signaling properly, or have a taillight or license plate light not functioning, just to name a few. There needs to be an articulable reason for the officer to make the stop.

Tactical Control: What the officer observes you doing sitting in your car. Are you sitting still, moving around, reaching for something, etc.? All of your actions play a role in how the officer approaches your vehicle. Also a factor are the number of vehicle occupants. An officer may call for backup based on the number of people inside the vehicle along with what they may be observed doing.

Release: This could be done with a verbal or written warning, a citation, or arrest if warranted.

A typical traffic stop is performed with the police vehicle 20 feet behind and 3 feet to the left of the violator car. Sometimes the distance between cars is shorter based on where the stop is made, time of day and lighting conditions. A dashboard mounted camera in the squad car is usually activated.

After the classroom portion the class went outside to perform simulated traffic stops. Everyone in the class got to run a bunch of different scenarios from single driver stops to multiple occupant stops. The scenarios us all a sense of how “routine” traffic stops can be, but also how difficult and potentially dangerous they can quickly become.

Week #9 (04/28/16) will focus on the police records division and drug paraphernalia.

Gordon Hannan-Vice President Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association