Q: I heard the Santa Monica Police Department offers an academy class for residents of Santa Monica. If so, what does the class offer, and how do I join?

A: Great question, and yes we do! The Citizen Police Academy offered by the SMPD is a tremendous program. This program is offered through our Community Relations Unit and is designed to provide the community with an inside look at our practice of local law enforcement.

There are 11 sessions in the program designed to give participants an overview of the department and its functions, responsibilities, and operational procedures. Classes are taught by police officers, police executives, and highly-specialized civilian employees of the SMPD. In addition, citizens have the opportunity to interact with the chief of police and other members of the department.

Throughout the academy, classes are conducted in a variety of formats which consist of demonstrations, discussions, lectures and interactive exercises. The academy is free, and all class materials are provided to participants.

Classes cover a variety of topics such as:

• Criminal investigations

• Evidence gathering

• Driving under the influence

• Community policing

• Gangs

• Narcotics

• Neighborhood resource officers

Activities and demonstrations include:

• Simulated traffic stop

• S.W.A.T Team

• K-9 demonstration

• Defensive tactics

The SMPD offers the academy twice a year — in the spring and fall. Academy classes meet one night per week, three hours per session, for 11 weeks. Most classes are held at the Public Safety Facility. Graduation is held on the 12th week of the academy. Participants who have successfully completed the course receive a certificate of completion and a special memento of the Citizen Police Academy. All participants are encouraged to invite friends and family to attend the graduation festivities.

How to apply:

You can access the application form on the web at www.santamonicapd.org. You can also obtain an application form from the SMPD Community Relations Unit. Complete the application and mail to:

Santa Monica Police Department

Community Relations Unit

333 Olympic Dr.

Santa Monica, Calif., 90401

Or, fax to the Community Relations Unit:

(310) 576-1520

An application deadline is set for each academy session. Call the Community Relations Unit at (310) 458-8474 for further information. If you have missed an application deadline, send in your completed application anyway. We will include you on our next waiting list and contact you for the next Citizen Police Academy.

Academy participants are selected through an application process conducted by the SMPD Community Relations Unit and approved by the chief of police. Each Citizen Academy class has a limited enrollment. Candidates for the academy must meet the following criteria:

• Minimum 18 years of age.

• Live, work, or attend school in Santa Monica.

• Have no felony convictions.

• Have no pending criminal cases or outstanding warrants for your arrest.

• Be able to attend at least eight of the 11 classes.

• Sign participation waiver forms.

Note: Citizen Police Academy classes are in no way designed to train participants to act as law enforcement officers. A criminal history check will be conducted to verify information provided by the participant. Any requirement may be waived or modified upon review and approval of the chief of police.

Q: I was told by my neighborhood resource officer that I can access crime information from the SMPD website, but I forgot how. Can you help?

A: Definitely! You can visit our website at www.santamonicapd.org and click on the “Crime Information” tab. There you will find four additional links:

1. Crime Mapping – information on citywide police activity reported.

2. Bulletins – information on recent crime activity, wanted suspects, and pending investigations.

3. Crime Prevention – information, tips, and suggestions that will help keep you safe and enable you to assist with crime prevention efforts in your community.

4. Cold Cases – information on past investigations that could use your help.

For additional information regarding recent or daily activity you can go the “Community Information” tab and click on “Daily Reports.” There you will find a “Calls for Service” list and an “Arrest Report” list for every day. The Calls for Service report lists all the calls the Santa Monica Police Department received and entered into the Computer Aided Dispatch system during the 24-hour period specified (from midnight to midnight). The Calls For Service report lists (in order from left to right) the time each call was received, the time the call was completed, the incident number, incident type, address, reporting district, beat, and incident disposition. The Arrest Report constitutes a list of all arrests entered into the electronic booking system during the 24-hour period specified (from midnight to midnight). The Arrest Report lists (in order from left to right) the date each person was arrested, the time of the arrest, the incident number, their name, birth date, race, gender, and charge(s).

You can also subscribe to our community e-mail alerts by going to the “Programs” tab and clicking on the “Community E-mail Subscription Program.” By signing up with this program, you will receive important information on crime trends, crime prevention techniques, and Santa Monica Police Department crime bulletins. The information is e-mailed periodically. Any resident, business or organization with an e-mail address is eligible to become a subscriber. Business subscribers are encouraged to photocopy the bulletins and distribute them to employees and neighboring businesses without Internet access. To subscribe to the Santa Monica Police Department’s Community E-mail Subscription Program, call (310) 458-8474 or complete the form on the website.

I hope this helps! Our website holds a host of information. If at any time you have additional questions not covered here please feel free to contact your neighborhood resource officer. You can find us and our contact information on the website as well by clicking on the “Neighborhood Resource Officers” link.

This column was prepared by NRO Roberto Lucio – Beat 6 (Montana Avenue to Interstate 10, Centinela Avenue to 20th Street). He can be reached at (424) 200-0686 or Roberto.lucio@smgov.net.