Citizens Academy

Business Spotlight: Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Citizens Academy

18100 Cumberland Road
Noblesville, IN
Writer / Matt Keating
Photography Provided

Deputy Bryan Melton with the Hamilton County Sheriffs Office says the departments Citizens Academy has been a success.

The Hamilton County Sheriffs Office takes great pride in the fact that our Citizens Academy is very hands-on,” Melton says. We have several opportunities for our attendees to participate in experiences that most of the non-law enforcement community does not get to do.”

Melton notes that during the emergency vehicle operations block of the course, students get behind the wheel of an actual police patrol vehicle.

Citizens AcademyWe put them through a modified driving course so they can try their hand at some precision driving,” Melton says. This is not a high-speed driving course. Accuracy and getting somewhere is more important. I was told by my field-training officer as a young deputy that we cannot drive faster than our guardian angel can fly,meaning that we cannot help anyone if we cannot get to where we are needed.”

During the firearms block of the course, participants attend a class at the firearms range where they learn about equipment carried and utilized by Sheriffs Office deputies.

They get educated on our less-lethal resources and our different types of firearms, and also see demonstrations,” Melton says. At the end of the firearms class, students are closely monitored one-on-one with a range instructor, and they get to try their hand firing a few rounds at targets, through the different firearms platforms that were discussed and demonstrated in the class.”

The academy also has reality-based scenarios.

The reality-based scenarios are done at the end of the Citizens Academy,” Melton says. The scenario exercise gives the students the opportunity to put everything together that they have learned throughout the course – tactics, observation, de-escalation and listening skills – and apply it to the scenarios. This allows our Citizens Academy students to see how quickly situations can change and evolve, and see how different methods applied to the scenarios can create the outcomes that they observed at the conclusion of the exercise. This helps them realize how hard situations can be, how quickly we must make decisions, and how, in an instant, things can change.”

The academy also gives the public an inside look at how the department operates.

It gives them an inside look at the reasons behind why we do the things that we do, the reality of what we do, versus the perception of what we do as law enforcement professionals, and most importantly, transparency and the ability to connect with the community on a professional and personal level,” Melton says.

Melton adds that academy participants have provided positive feedback.

The graduates of our Hamilton County Sheriffs Office Citizens Academy have ultimately become the greatest advocates for our agency, meaning that word of mouth is greater than anything that we can post on social media or broadcast,” Melton says. We have several testimonials from our many graduates that speak volumes about the program.”

Citizens AcademyMelton has also enjoyed working with academys alumni.

We have the greatest Hamilton County Sheriffs Office Citizens Academy Alumni Association around,” Melton says. Without the members of the HCSOCAAA and their dedication to the program, our Citizens Academy would not run as smoothly as it does. They stay active with us and help with our class sessions, help with the Hamilton County 4-H Fair, testing processes for new hires, the Hamilton County Sheriffs Office Community Foundation, the Heroes Run, and many more.”

Melton says the department puts on one Citizens Academy session in the spring and one in the fall. Those interested can visit the official Hamilton County website to apply online and see participation requirements.

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