In the late 1980s FBI Special Agent and Futurist Bill Tafoya suggested to Prince William County Police Chief Charlie Deane that he consider establishing a citizen police academy. At that time, Chief Deane had not yet heard of a concept like this and he rejected the idea. The Chief believed the Department was too busy with other responsibilities and he did not think there would not be enough citizen interest to sustain such a program.
In 1992, Prince George´s County (MD) Police Chief Dave Mitchell told Chief Deane he had started a citizen police academy and was having outstanding results in terms of citizen and staff interest. Chief Mitchell said he invited some of his department´s most vocal critics to attend and they had been "converted" by the end of the academy. Willing to conduct a pilot, Chief Deane wanted the Prince William County Citizen Police Academy (PWCCPA) formed as an expansion of the Department´s community outreach efforts. Then-Corporal Fred Miller was directed to research, develop, and serve as the first coordinator of the PWCCPA.
The first class of the PWCCPA began in the fall of 1993. It was the second citizen police academy to be established in the metropolitan DC area, and the second of its kind in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Intended to be one of many open lines of communication between the community and the Police Department, the PWCCPA was (and continues to be) a firsthand look at the rules, regulations, policies, and training of police personnel.
To this day, Chief Deane continues to be gratified by the commitment and enthusiasm of staff and citizens regarding the PWCCPA. The Department has learned the community has great interest in learning about what the police do and why, and the officers and detectives who present the classes are proud to educate the citizens about their chosen profession. This has resulted in the development of stronger bonds between the police and the community which, in turn, contributes to safer neighborhoods.
The mission of the Prince William County Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association is to promote interaction between the Police Department and the citizens it serves, as well as to expand the knowledge of the Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association members with respect to the law enforcement profession.