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The Costa Mesa Police Department’s Citizens’ Police Academy works to promote a better relationship between law enforcement and the community it serves through education and hands-on learning. The academy is 10 week program designed to provide citizens with an understanding of the police department’s operations. Students will learn from police department personnel who are experts in the areas of S.W.A.T., narcotics, K-9 support, major crimes, patrol operations, traffic laws, criminal law, crime scene investigation, and other related fields. Students will also be scheduled for a ride-along during the academy. Students will gain an overall knowledge of the Costa Mesa Police Department, how it’s organized and how it serves the community. Instructors are drawn from all levels of the department. Students will meet the chief of police, patrol captain, area lieutenants, patrol officers, detectives, dispatchers, and other department staff. Students are encouraged to ask questions and express their concerns about pertinent issues. A major goal of the Citizens’ Police Academy is to increase understanding between citizens and their police department, and to build a strong relationship for the future good of the community.


  • 21 or older

  • No outstanding warrants and no pending criminal cases

  • No prison felony convictions

  • No misdemeanor arrests within three years of application

  • Must live or work in Costa Mesa

Any of the requirements may be waived upon review by academy staff or the chief of police.



Interested citizens must complete and submit an online application. Email is the primary form of communication during the application process. Please use an email address that is current and readily available so that you will receive updates on your status throughout the application process. After preliminary review to confirm eligibility, candidates will be scheduled for fingerprinting and a background check will be performed. If you have any questions, please call Crime Prevention at (714) 754-4876 or send an email to