Community Academy

What's New?

The next community academy will be held in the fall of 2018 and more information will be posted in 2018.

What is the Community Academy?

The Madison Police Department's Community Academy is a program that is designed to give the public a working knowledge and understanding of the values, goals, and operations of the City of Madison Police Department. The objective of the Academy is to improve the lines of communication and help build a positive relationship between the Madison Police Department and the community members we serve. This experience will afford community members an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of their police department while allowing police to become more familiar with the constituents they serve.

The Madison Police Department believes that by working together with the public, we are better able to solve problems that face our community and ultimately improve the quality of life in the City of Madison. This course is not intended for those wishing to explore or pursue a career in law enforcement, as it is by design, a program that only offers an overview of general police duties, responsibilities and operations.

What Should I Expect?

The Academy consists of nine (9) three-hour sessions conducted on a weekly basis. The Academy will be held at the Madison Police Department Training Center located at 5702 Femrite Drive, Madison, Wisconsin. There is no cost to attend.

During the Academy, community members will be exposed to subject matter relating to the duties and responsibilities of police officers. The Academy will be instructed by police officers and supervisors from the Madison Police Department with expertise in various areas of law enforcement. Past topics have included drugs and gangs, law, use of force decision-making, OWI and traffic enforcement, specialty teams such as the K-9 and Mounted Patrol Units, SET and SWAT. Academy participants will also be given the opportunity to go on a ride-along with a MPD police officer.

During classes, participants are encouraged to ask questions and give feedback concerning the operations of the Madison Police Department. Additionally, academy participants bring a wealth of knowledge about their community, particularly the problems unique to their neighborhoods. In this way, members of the Department learn firsthand of the concerns of its constituents by interacting with them in a positive, non-confrontational setting. It is our sincere hope that the well-informed graduates will become partners with us in identifying problems and providing solutions to quality of life issues that face our community.

Who can Attend?

  • Community members from the City of Madison who are at least 18 years of age.
  • Community members with an interest in learning about their police department.
  • Community members with no felony arrests or convictions (includes criminal traffic offenses).
  • Community members who are not currently engaged in a legal process (criminal/civil) with the City.
  • Community members who have completed an application and waiver of liability by the deadline.
  • Community members who are willing to submit to a thorough background check.

How do I Apply

Applicants must print a copy of both the application and waiver. Once both forms have been completed, they can be either mailed or emailed to the Coordinator whose contact information appears at the bottom of the application or dropped off at one of the district police stations to be routed to the Coordinator. Applications and waivers will be accepted until the established deadline. Applications and waivers received after the deadline will not be considered unless postmarked by that date.

All applications will be reviewed to help establish a pool of diverse candidates. A background check will be conducted to eliminate those applicants with a criminal record. The remaining applicants will then be evaluated to establish the final group that will comprise the Community Academy. All applicants will receive a letter from the Coordinator advising them of the outcome of their application process.

The criteria for screening applicants will include (but not be limited to):

  • City geographical areas (districts)/distribution of neighborhoods
  • Diversity to reflect the community we serve (i.e., gender, race, age)
  • Review of application
  • Information obtained from background investigation

The maximum class size for the Community Academy has generally been limited to 20 candidates. All accepted candidates will be contacted and provided more specific information regarding the Academy. The candidates must commit to attending all of the sessions. It is understood that emergencies may arise, but candidates must contact the Coordinator to inform her/him of the need to miss the session and provide a reason. Unexcused or numerous absences may result in dismissal from the Academy.

Applications can be mailed or emailed to:

  • Captain James Wheeler, Community Academy Coordinator
    Madison Police Department
    211 S. Carroll Street
    Madison, WI 53703

Any further questions can be directed to the Community Academy Coordinator, Captain James Wheeler,, (608) 266-4835.