Dispatches from Citizen’s Police Academy

Pictured from left are Gulfport Police Officer Zack Mills, Sylvia Gustaffson, John Gustaffson, Linda Craig, Rexee Gaugh, Jeff Alaimo, Diane Zacharias, Ann Hays, Phyllis Marcum, Carole Gabrio and Jeff Marsh. Photos were not allowed inside Pinellas County jail so the academy participants did their own version of a line up in front of Mills’ patrol car in the parking lot.

Debbie Wolfe will report from each session of the 2017 Gulfport Citizen’s Police Academy. This is part seven of 11.

Gulfport’s annual Citizens’ Police Academy, led by Community Resource Officer Zack Mills, meets on Thursday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m.

On March 2, participants had a guided tour of the Pinellas County Jail where photographs were not allowed.

The group got to see first hand the individual jail cells or group areas where prisoners sleep, exercise and play chess or card games to pass the time. They also toured the booking room where fingerprints and mug shot photographs are taken for law enforcement records.

“The goal is to provide an educational opportunity where citizens gain a better understanding of the police department and provide different class experiences,” said Mills.


On Thursday, March 2, 2017, Officer Zack Mills explained to academy participants that he had just qualified at the law enforcement shooting range that day to carry his personal shotgun in the trunk of his cruiser. Now, Mills joins other Gulfport officers who also carry such weapons in their patrol vehicles. When he responds to a call in the field, the high-powered gun gives him an option to choose to use non-lethal rounds to subdue people at a distance who are acting in a violent manner.


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