Get Involved

The Howard County Police Department offers several ways for citizens to learn more about and participate in functions of the department. Programs like the Citizens Police Academy offer a view into how police officers in the county are trained. Community events such as Coffee with a Cop or requested meetings with officers can help us better understand your concerns and help you get to know us better. Advisory councils help HCPD guide procedures and policies and are crucial in helping us serve Howard County better.


Community Events & Meetings

Advisory & Hearing Boards

An HCPD officer meets with a student.
Citizens Advisory Council

The Citizens Advisory Council (CAC) consists of active community leaders who volunteer their time and energy to address law enforcement services in Howard County. Meetings are held with police leadership on a monthly basis and provide a forum for citizens to provide input on police services, facilitate a spirit of cooperation between police and community, assist in the development and perpetuation of crime prevention programs and aid in the identification of long-range departmental goals.

Citizen Police Academy

The Howard County Police Department offers county residents the opportunity to participate in this free, interactive, 12-week course that gives participants an inside look into the department’s day-to-day operations and provides an understanding of the kind of training police officers receive in Howard County. Classes are taught by police instructors in a police academy setting at the James N. Robey Public Safety Training Center in Marriottsville.

Participants will experience:

  • Tours of the police department, training center, crime lab, and 911 call center
  • Courses on traffic laws and enforcement, police use of force, community policing, human trafficking, gang investigations, drug overview, and more
  • Presentations by the department’s K9 and tactical units
  • Interactive firearms training on a firearms simulator and police pursuit and driver training
  • Ride-along with a police officer

Participants must:

  • Be Howard County residents
  • At least 18 years old
  • Have no criminal record
  • Commit to attend a minimum of 10 of the 12 sessions to receive a certificate of completion

We are not currently accepting applications for the Citizens Police Academy. Future dates will be posted here.

Questions? Contact Police Human Resources at 410-313-3740 or [email protected].

Howard County Police Foundation

Established in 1994, the Howard County Police Foundation is a nonprofit organization supported by local businesses that aids the police department in funding and promoting programs to improve public safety and quality of life in the community. By teaming business leaders with law enforcement, the foundation better addresses common concerns, establishes goals and ensures Howard County remains a great place to live, work and play. Learn more about the Howard County Police Foundation at its website:

Ride-along/observation request

The Howard County Police Department offers residents of Howard County the opportunity to go on ride-alongs with officers as well as observations with members of communications.

In order to participate in the ride-along program, you must:

  • Be a resident of Howard County (exceptions are given for police applicants and other special considerations)
  • Be at least sixteen (16) years of age and have parental permission
  • Authorize a criminal background check be conducted
  • Successfully pass the criminal background investigation prior to the ride-along
Teen Court: A real justice program, by teens, for teens

Teen Court offers the opportunity to first-time juvenile offenders who live in Howard County to accept responsibility for their misdemeanor crimes without having to incur a criminal record. Teen volunteers serve as jury members for a full school calendar year and will hear cases like theft, disorderly conduct, destruction of property, alcohol possession, and other non-violent offenses. Dispositions for the offenders may include community service, educational programs, essays and apology letters. The program has proven successful in reducing rates of repeat offenders in other jurisdictions.

If you live in Howard County and are a high school student (grades 9-12 and under the age of 18) and are interested in becoming a jury member, contact Katie Turner, Teen Court Coordinator, at [email protected].

Applications are no longer being accepted. Please check back in 2023 to apply for the next session of Teen Court. 


HCPD volunteers offer their talents, skills and abilities to support the services police provide to the community. Prospective volunteers are matched with identified needs in the police department. Opportunities vary, and may include clerical/office support, citizen services, and crime prevention. For more information, or to apply, click here.

Youth Advisory Council

The Youth Advisory Council is designed to provide youth with an engaging environment to interact with local law enforcement. The group will meet monthly with members of the department.

Community Events and Meetings

Our popular community events, like Coffee with a Cop, are back on. Check out the list of upcoming events and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more frequent updates. 

An HCPD officer plays chess at a community event.

2023 National Night Out

Join us Tuesday, Aug. 1 at Wilde Lake Middle School (10481 Cross Fox Lane, Columbia, MD 21044) between 6 and 9 p.m. in celebration of National Night Out! This FREE event will feature food trucks, police and fire displays, DJ, child-friendly activities, games, giveaways and more!

Or, better yet, plan and register a community-sponsored party in your own neighborhood. Register by July 5th to request HCPD/ HCDFRS resources to attend.

Please note, visits from police and fire are only available as calls for service allow.

Uniformed officers interact with young girl holding a National Night Out Balloon
Hearing Boards
Animal Matters Hearing Board

The purpose of the Animal Matters Hearing Board is to hear and render decisions on appeals of citations issued for violations of animal control laws; to issue orders and declarations related to enforcement of animal control laws; to make recommendations on standards and procedures for operation of the animal control facility; and to annually review the proposed budget for the operation of the animal control facility.

Internal Affairs Hearing Board

Click below to learn more.

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