Nearly 40 people attend packed Citizens Academy in July

(FLORENCE, AZ) - Nearly 40 county residents got an in-depth look at the criminal justice system during the second Citizens Academy of the year put on by the Pinal County Attorney's Office.

The July class was the largest Citizens Academy since PCAO launched the program in early 2022. For this event, 39 Pinal County residents took part and learned how charging decisions are made, heard a special presentation by PCAO's Drug Bureau Chief, reviewed and discussed the evidence in multiple cases prosecuted by PCAO, toured the county jail and used a shooting simulator to better understand the difficult situations that law enforcement often face. County Attorney Kent Volkmer led the class and answered additional questions from participants.

"I enjoyed the class thoroughly," said one participant in a post-event survey.

The sentiment was shared among many who attended.

"We [are] impressed the County Attorney takes a whole day out to educate the public about his organization," said another participant in the survey.  "Mr. Volkmer is a wonderful speaker and we appreciated his candor."

The Citizens Academy aims to educate those who attend on the criminal justice field and give participants an immersive look at how a case is reviewed, charged and prosecuted.

"We try to make this as educational and engaging as possible," said Public Information Officer Mike Pelton. "Those who attend always bring great questions, and we hope they leave with a better and more accurate sense of how the criminal justice system works and how it functions in Pinal County."

PCAO plans to host one more Citizens Academy this year, although a date has not yet been finalized.