Citizens Police Academy

Bella Vista Police Department established the Citizens Police Academy in 2015, in an attempt to educate and inform the community of issues related to law enforcement, and particularly law enforcement locally. Our goal is to foster a relationship between police and the community to create a partnership beneficial to both sides. Together, we can enhance the quality of life in the City of Bella Vista.

This program aims to promote interaction between the public and police, with an avenue for community members to express concerns and ideas, and to encourage communication between the two.

Real life police work is not quite like TV or the movies. Hopefully, citizens graduating the program will understand policing in their community and feel assured to undertake measures to help prevent crime in their area, and to prevent becoming a victim of crime themselves.

The academy is a 10-week course, during which participants will get an intimate understanding of community law enforcement, and explore the everyday inner workings of a police department. Each session will consist of 10 consecutive Tuesday night classes held at the Bella Vista Police Department, along with one Saturday firearms instruction session at the firing range. Each class will last 3 hours.

Comprehensive instruction will cover various topics of police work, including patrol officer duties, crime investigations, communications, firearms training and K9 operations. Instruction consists of lectures and demonstrations, including real-life scenarios and officer ride-alongs.

Note: Participation in this course does not qualify as a concealed handgun carry licensing course, and no firearms licenses or permits will be issued following completion.

Upon graduation, participants will receive a certificate of completion and become Police Department ambassadors to the community.

Qualified applicants will be 18 years of age or over, and have no criminal record (no felony convictions and/or arrests for domestic abuse laws) due to the firearms training that will take place in this course. Attendance during the course is highly important to its success, and those who miss two or more classes will be disqualified from completing the academy.

For any other questions regarding the academy, please contact Cpl. Haley Lyons at 479-855-3771 or email

February 27 - April 30, 2024

The Citizens Police Academy is limited to 20 participants.
All interested parties must apply, even if you have already applied in the past. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants will be notified if they have been accepted into the program.