Graduate of The SCMPD ‘Citizens Police Academy’ program encourages more in the community to participate

Members of the community participating in a past Citizens Academy program.


Regardless of what city they’re serving and protecting, it can definitely be a pretty tough job.

But have you ever wanted to learn more about what they do, beyond what you see day-to-day?

Well, there’s a program that can help you do that and it’s called The Citizen’s Police Academy. It’s hosted by the Savannah Chatham Metro Police Department, and they’ve already started taking applications for their program set to happen this fall.

News 3 spoke with someone who’s successfully completed the program and he’s encouraging everyone to participate…and get those questions they always wanted to ask…answered!


We’ve all heard the sound of police sirens before…and often times…

“I think a lot of times we think, ‘Oh, why are they talking to each other on the side of the road? Or why do they feel the need to creep up behind my car like that? I’m a nice guy, I’m a good civilian’, but there’s a reason for everything they do…,” said Chase Paterno, a successful graduate of The Citizens Academy.

And that’s exactly what the Savannah Chatham Metro Police want to help the communities they serve–to understand.

“You know there’s a saying that the firemen save lives and the police are pulling you over…,” Paterno said.

So they’re holding their Citizens Police Academy program this fall, not only to let the community in, but in hopes of discouraging the negativity that is sometimes associated with police…

And if you think you’re thinking you’re just going to sit in a boring classroom all day–you’d be wrong. Paterno told News 3 it was a very interactive experience for him.

“It’s a lot of fun! You get to learn about each department, you get to ask questions–but it’s a lot of fun! You get get to tour the 911 center, you get to tour the jail, you get to go on a ride-a-long, that’s great! I would encourage anyone to do it!,” Paterno told News 3.

The minimum age to participate is 18 and there is no maximum.

Once they complete the program and graduate, they receive a certificate of completion and the chance to continue volunteering with the police department.

But Paterno says he left the program with something else as well…

“Even more respect on an in-depth level. Just an appreciation, and overall appreciation for exactly what they have to do and sometimes what they have to put up with on a multitude of levels. It’s a dangerous job, and it’s my opinion that we should thank them for what they do and thank them for giving back and we should assist them as best we can,” Paterno told News 3.

But Major Larry Branson of the Savannah Chatham Metro Police Department says the participants aren’t the only ones taking something good from this…

“You see police officers see things and experience things that most people should never have to endure…the death, the pain, the violence. So if we’ve got an ally, someone who understands why we do what we do, and they certainly get that in 13 weeks that they’re here at the academy–then that’s good for the public and food for the police,” Major Branson.

If you’re interested applications are available at all Savannah Chatham Metro Police Precincts, visit their website:, or call (912)-651-2246 for more information.


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