This week, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department announced the winter 2020 session of the Sheriff’s Citizens Academy.

This virtual course is the latest installment of an ongoing program that offers participants training for a wide range of law enforcement activities. It’s essentially a highly condensed version of the standard training curriculum for sheriff’s deputies.

The department’s goal is “to provide a broad educational experience which will acquaint attending citizens with the mission of sheriff’s personnel and the requirements of law to which officers must conform while carrying out their prescribed duties.”

It’s also meant to help people better understand the operations of the department and help them make more informed judgments about the Sheriff’s Department actions. That’s especially important in 2020 when there have been many confrontations between people and officers in Guilford County, and there has been national outrage over some police actions.

The program helps the department as well because it makes deputies more aware of the feelings and concerns of the community through a lot of give and take in the classes.

The program description notes, “Guilford County Citizens and Sheriff’s representatives will have an opportunity to explore together, some of the traditional suspicions and misconceptions generally harbored by both citizens and sheriff’s deputies. Through open discussion of such suspicions and misconceptions, a more harmonious climate for relationships may be established.”

The academy will consist of two months of virtual sessions that meet on Thursday evenings, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The participants selected will represent a cross-section of the Guilford County community.

Here are some of the topics that will be addressed:

  • Use of force
  • Gun violence
  • Gang Awareness
  • Suicide
  • Legal process
  • Drug addiction and the opioid crisis
  • Crime scene processing

Those interested can find more information at