Citizen Police Academy

Applications for the Fall 2022 Citizen Police Academy are no longer being accepted. Please check back in the Spring 2023 for updates. 

Citizen Police Academies (CPAs) have become one of the most beneficial programs developed under the community-based policing philosophy. The first CPA was showcased in Orlando, Florida, in 1985; today, they are used across the country to educate citizens on the basics of the law enforcement profession, to bring citizens closer to police, to recruit potential employees (both civilian and sworn), and to recruit a strong volunteer base. The Hillside Police Department began its first citizen’s academy in the fall of 2009. 

The Village of Hillside’s Citizens Police Academy is open to residents or business owners who are interested in learning more about policing in the Village of Hillside. The main purpose of the ten week academy program is to create a positive understanding and awareness of current law enforcement issues and duties as they relate to the community. In addition, participants will be exposed to the tasks and hazards that face all police officers in our community. The ultimate goal is to foster a positive community-based relationship between citizens and the department. The program is not designed to make applicants certified police officers. Participation does not provide graduates with police authority or the ability to act as police officers.

Academy Requirements and Contact information

Our academy’s philosophy centers on an open, informal learning environment. Open dialogue is encouraged and appreciated, as long as it is presented in a tolerant and respectful way. A sincere commitment to the program is a must. CPA sessions are held during the spring and fall of every year. Each CPA session runs for 10-weeks with classes held on once a week. 

The day of the week will be chosen based on a majority preference as indicated on the applications. If you cannot commit to every Academy date, please reconsider your application. We intend to expose you to the daily tasks, the requirements, the culture, and the pros and cons to a career in law enforcement.


Applicants for the Hillside Citizen Police Academy must be at least 21 years of age and live or work in the Village of Hillside. For security purposes, a criminal history check and a driver’s license check will be performed, pending your written authorization. If no authorization is given, enrollment in the program will be denied. Applicants with felony or misdemeanor convictions will be excluded from consideration. The Hillside Police Department reserves the right to exclude participation in this program at any time prior to or during its operation. 

Applications can be picked up at the Hillside Police Station, 425 N. Hillside Ave. from the dispatch center or the Village Hall. For your convenience, applications are also available online at the link provided at the bottom of this page. Space is limited, so apply early! 

For additional information, contact Chris Villarreal at (708) 202-3474.

What recent graduates are saying:

“Participation in the Hillside Citizen’s Police Academy was an invaluable experience! It helped me to connect with, and understand the role of, the Hillside Police. I feel that I have a broader role in protecting the community, and have a stronger appreciation and pride for being a Hillside resident.” – Bobbie Robertson

“I found the classes in the 2013 Citizen’s Police Academy to be very informative regarding all aspects of police work. The officers made it very enjoyable and fun. I was impressed with how much they care about our community and the job that they do.” – Janet Jiskra

“I want to thank you for the opportunity to participate in the Hillside Citizen’s Police Academy. As a retired law enforcement officer, I truly appreciated the exposure to the training and daily tasks of the Hillside Police Department. The classes were very informative and educational as well. The class allows residents to meet and interact with those who are sworn to serve and protect the community. It gives residents a sense of inclusion and empowerment, understanding that we all have a responsibility to become involved in the security and protection of our community”. –Andrew Ryal