Citizens' Academy Overview

The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, in partnership with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, is once again offering its popular Citizens’ Academy, a behind-the-scenes look at the criminal justice system.

Although the program is offered at no cost, applicants must pass a background check and be willing to commit to attend a ten-week curriculum on one evening each week.

Participants who are selected from this competitive application process will have the unique opportunity to hear directly from subject matter experts in local law enforcement. A diverse program of topics ranges from high-profile homicides to gang prosecutions. Highlights include a fascinating tour of the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office and special access to the Sheriff’s Department weapons simulator exercise.


We are not taking any applications at the moment. The application period for the Fall 2016 Citizens’ Academy will begin the last week of July or the first week of August. If you would like to be notified via email once the application period begins, please send your name and email to

Before applying, prospective students must be 18 years or older and undergo a background check before being accepted to the academy.

Ten-Week Commitment

The academy meets Thursday evenings from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., during a ten-week period.

This well-received program now has far more applicants than we can accommodate. Committed and regular attendance is imperative.

For a sneak peek at the program please take a look at our flyer and schedule.

Praise from those who attended previous Citizens’ Academies remains strong and continues to grow. Here’s what a few of them wrote:

“If you want to learn more about how the District Attorney’s Office – and all branches of government – works in San Diego County, take this class. The Citizens’ Academy is a great way to learn how your government works and how your tax dollars are spent.” Paul Krueger, Senior Producer, NBC 7 San Diego

“Attending [the] Citizens’ Academy has given me a different perspective on the San Diego justice system. I have much respect for the individuals who serve San Diego and make sure its citizens are safe.” Maryanne N., Director at a biopharmaceutical company

“No matter your professional background, the Citizens’ Academy is interesting, relevant, and informative. A wonderful program that showcases the professionalism, collaboration, and expertise of the San Diego District Attorney’s Office.” Sarah, Program Coordinator at a local non-profit

“Absolutely worth the time. I looked forward to every speaker and have enthusiastically shared everything I’ve learned with family, friends and my students.” Mary, High School Teacher

Spring 2016 Handouts

Ten-Week Program
Application Form/Background Check Waiver

Contact Information