The image most people have of the police comes from watching movies and television shows. But Hollywood is about entertainment, not accuracy, which means what you see on the screen is not necessarily the most accurate depiction of the day-to-day lives of police officers.

If you’d like to learn a lot more about what police officers actually do and how the Police Department works, the city provides that opportunity, with the Greensboro Police Citizens Academy.

The Greensboro Police Department is now accepting applications for the 2020 Police Citizens Academy and, although you won’t be qualified to become a sworn police officer when you graduate like the graduates of the Greensboro Police Academy, you should have a far better understanding of the thought process behind some of the decisions that the police make.

This is not hours of sitting in a classroom listening to lectures; the Citizens Academy is hands-on and interactive, but there is some classroom time. There are 13 sessions that include demonstrations, practical exercises and lots of time for questions and answers. Senior Police Department employees will cover topics including problem-oriented policing, constitutional law, forensic services, special teams and patrol operations.

Citizens who take the class will have the opportunity to ride along with police officers, undergo the challenge of a simulated field encounter using the Firearms Training System and learn about police defensive tactics.

Greensboro Police Chief Wayne Scott said, “The Greensboro Police Citizens Academy is just the start of our relationship with the residents who participate in the program. We want our graduates to take what they have learned to improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods. And we want our alumni to continue a long-term partnership with the GPD to share responsibility and resources to make our city safer.”

Scott is retiring Jan. 31, 2020, and the Greensboro City Council is considering having an in-depth study of the Police Department done in the next couple of months. So the police are likely to be in the news even more than usual in 2020.

The Greensboro Police Citizens Academy will meet every Thursday in 2020 from Feb. 6 to May 7, and the deadline for application is Dec. 6, 2019. Eligible Greensboro residents over the age of 18 can go to to apply.