Citizen with CPD officer during training

The 2021 Public Safety Academy class has been postponed.  We are expecting to start this program in 2022.  Participants will be contacted via email once a date has been selected.

The Public Safety Citizens’ Academy  is a free eleven-week program designed to educate local residents about public safety operations. During previous classes, participants learned about the Columbus Police Department Bomb Squad, SWAT Team, Criminal Investigations, Narcotics/Vice Units and K-9 Division.

Participants will have the opportunity to fire police weapons at the department’s gun range.  They will also use the Columbus Fire Department’s equipment to cut open a wrecked vehicle in a mock extrication scenario and put out an actual fire using a fire extinguisher.

“The Columbus Public Safety Academy is a great way to connect with our residents and show them what we do and how we do it,” Columbus Police Chief Michael Richardson said. “We let participants have the same experiences as our city police officers and firefighters, from riding along on patrols to putting out fires.”

Hundreds of local residents have completed the Citizens’ Academy since it started in the mid-1990s.  CPD Lt. Matt Harris, one of the academy organizers, said “this is an excellent opportunity for residents to experience first hand how our public safety personnel help keep Columbus safe.” “Few people outside the world of public safety will experience what academy participants get to see and do during this course.”

The Columbus Fire Department and other agencies joined the Columbus Police Department to broaden the scope of courses taught as part of the academy. Several topics of interest are covered each week.

The Public Safety Citizens’ Academy will give residents the chance to learn more about public safety in Columbus and Bartholomew County. Questions about this program can be directed to Lt. Matt Harris at 812-376-2605 or

The 2021 Public Safety Citizens’ Academy is scheduled to begin August 12th and will continue for 11 consecutive weeks. Participants must agree to undergo a criminal history check to participate.  Graduates who complete the course will be eligible for volunteer opportunities at the police department.   Classes will be held each Thursday from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. and is limited to thirty participants.

Online Application