Citizens Police Academy

Law Enforcement Agencies in Rutherford County will be holding its Citizens Police Academy. The purpose of this program is to further citizens knowledge and understanding of the unique challenges which face the members of the law enforcement community every day. It is our belief that through education and communication the academy will enhance the participating department's ability to serve the community. The program will provide an opportunity for the members of the police department to come together with the citizens and explore the issues and concerns which exist within the community.

The program consists of a 10 week program that will begin at the Forest City Police Department and will last from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. each night. The program will continue each Thursday and will be held at different locations each week. The program will utilize lecture, power point presentations, and hands on experiences.

Everyone is welcome to attend. You may access the curriculum and application at and clicking on the Citizen Programs tab.

If you have any questions feel free to contact Asst. Chief Donnie Hensley at 828.245.5555 or by email at

Police Academy Application

Citizens Police Academy Curriculum

Classes will be held from 6:00-8:00PM on Thursday nights.

Week 1 - Introductions; Testing, Hiring & Training; Organizational Structure

Week 2 - Overview of the Criminal Justice System; Patrol Operations

Week 3 - Search and Seizure; Criminal Investigation Division; Crime Scene Investigation

Week 4 - Narcotics Investigations

Week 5 - Becoming a Witness; Property & Evidence, Traffic Enforcement

Week 6 - Use of Force; Prisoner Control

Week 7 - Domestic Violence; Sexual Assault

Week 8 - Firearms Safety

Week 9 - Courthouse Procedures

Week 10 - Futures of Departments and Law Enforcement; Graduation and presentation of certificates

Week 1 - Introductions; Testing, Hiring & Training; Organizational Structures

(Forest City Police Department)

  • The Rutherford County Sheriff and the Chiefs of Police from Rutherfordton, Spindale and Forest City will introduce themselves and their command staff and give a brief overview of their departments.
  • Organizational structures of the departments will be presented.
  • Participants will introduce themselves and explain their expectations or reasons for attending.
  • The recruiting, testing, hiring and training functions will be discussed, including minimum qualifications to be certified in North Carolina. There will be a review of Basic Law Enforcement Training and the Field Training Program (FTO Program).
  • Tour of the Forest City Police Department.

Week 2 - Overview of the Criminal Justice System; Patrol Operations; Communications

(Rutherford County Sheriff's Department)

  • The Police Role in the criminal justice system, jurisdictional problems, civil versus criminal, and the various judicial systems.
  • Patrol operations will cover deployment, staffing, report writing, the patrol vehicle and associated specialized equipment, as well as other topics related to patrol personnel.
  • The Section on Communications/Records Division will cover an overview of records, the radio and phone system, "911" function and capabilities, and a tour of the Rutherford County 911 Communications Center.
  • Tour of the Rutherford County Sheriff's Department and Detention Center.

Week 3 - Search and Seizure; Criminal Investigations Division; Crime Scene Investigation

(Rutherfordton Police Department)

  • The section will discuss the difference between search and seizure along with 4th Amendment issues, stop and frisk, and searching with and without a warrant.
  • The case management systems, files and investigative tools used by investigators will be discussed and demonstrated, along with the explanation of the property and evidence management section.
  • The section on crime scene investigation includes discussion and presentation on topics such as retrieving latent fingerprints, crime scene photography and diagrams, and the collection and preservation of evidence.
  • Students will gain hands-on experience by taking one another's fingerprints on fingerprint cards and lift latent prints from objects. ( Tour of the Forensic Lab)
  • Tour of Rutherfordton Police Department.

Week 4 - Narcotics Investigations

(Spindale Police Department)

This section will cover undercover operations and equipment, the use of informants, preparing and executing search warrants, and the current trends of drug distribution and/or abuse in Rutherford County.

  • Drug, narcotic and paraphernalia familiarization and display.
  • Methamphetamine awareness will be discussed along with the problems associated with the Clandestine Labs used to produce Methamphetamine.
  • Students will participate in a surveillance operation.
  • Tour of the Spindale Police Department

Week 5 - Becoming a Better Witness; Property and Evidence; Traffic Enforcement

(Lake Lure Police Department)

  • Becoming an effective witness to crime.
  • The Property and Evidence Section will explain chain of custody and liaison with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Lab.
  • This section will include an overview of North Carolina Traffic Law and the police role in traffic enforcement and motor vehicle crash investigation.
  • There will be a demonstration and explanation of radar units.
  • An explanation of Driving While Impaired (DWI) enforcement will include demonstration of various test and techniques used to detect intoxication and impairment.
  • Participate in an impaired driving simulation exercise.

Week 6 - Use of Force; Prisoner Control

(Rutherford County Sheriff's Department)

  • Issues concerning the use of deadly and non-deadly force by police officers and citizens will be discussed. Police Internal Investigations regarding use of force will be discussed.
  • The block on prisoner control will include discussion, demonstration and student participation of searching, handcuffing and restraint devices and use of the police baton.
  • Willing Students will be afforded the opportunity to the taser.

Week 7 - Domestic Violence; Sexual Assault; Crime Prevention

(Rutherfordton Police Department)

  • The presentation on domestic violence will include such topics as Domestic Violence Orders, police response, North Carolina Law concerning Domestic Violence issues and the role of shelters and social services agencies.
  • The second block of instruction will discuss the various State statutes governing sex offenses, investigation, sexual assault awareness, laws concerning sex offenders, and registration.
  • The last block of instruction will include home and public crime prevention techniques and personal safety.

Week 8 - Firearms Safety

(Forest City Police Department)

  • Discuss firearms safety and laws covering the possession of weapons by certain individuals.
  • Discuss the storage of firearms.
  • On the Range. Willing Participants will be allowed to participate in a live fire exercise.
  • SERT Demonstration.
  • Drivers Training

Week 9 - Courthouse Procedures

(Rutherford County Courthouse)

  • Discuss the different divisions of the Courthouse.
  • Discuss Courthouse Security.
  • Discuss Jury and Jury Selections and Grand Jury.
  • Tour the Courthouse.
  • Testify in a mock trial.

Week 10 - Futures of Departments and Law Enforcement and Graduation Ceremonies

(Location to be determined)

  • Discuss the future of each department.
  • Discuss the future of law enforcement.
  • Certificates will be presented to those who have attended at least 90% of the course. The Banquet location will be announced at a later time. Business attire will be worn and the class president will give an overview of the course.