Community Outreach Spotlight

Lunch and Learn

Submitted by Gail Milligan, director of the Charlottesville, Virginia, Police Foundation.

The logo of the Charlottesville Police Foundation logo.

The Charlottesville, Virginia, Police Foundation (CPF) is hosting a new webinar series that brings the Charlottesville Police Department (CPD) and the public together in a virtual space to share thoughts and insights on a variety of important topics related to police work. Launched in December 2020, the monthly Lunch and Learn series features different officers each month presenting and answering questions about an aspect of their work, offering an insider’s perspective on being a police officer and strengthening the important bond between the department and its citizens.

Because of the pandemic, the CPF and CPD were faced with tremendous challenges last year, particularly in the ongoing efforts to bridge gaps between law enforcement and the community. This program allows the public to see beyond the headlines and inside the organization by highlighting topics of great interest to everyone.

Lunch and Learn serves an important role for the department in filling the community engagement void caused by the pandemic. Fostering an understanding of the jobs of policing is a key element in creating and maintaining critically important relationships with members of the community.

These webinars provide an opportunity to show the public that the CPD and CPF are adopting philosophies of 21st century policing technology in their approach. Many are currently facing challenges during the pandemic, so the series was made available to everyone during these uncertain times.

The Lunch and Learn topics are taken directly from the Citizen’s Police Academy and are available 24/7 for those who cannot attend the live sessions at The webinars are free and open to the public.

Content covered in the series so far has included the K-9 unit, forensics, the evolving recruitment and retention landscape, the department’s investigative process, and a discussion on how the CPD builds sustainable community partnerships.

This month’s presentation is on use of force, and registration is now open. Future sessions will address topics such as the balance of community safety and the fair treatment of offenders, the resolution of critical incidents through effective communication, law enforcement and mental illness, internal affairs, community access to emergency services, and SWAT.  

The CPF is made up of caring community members who work tirelessly to put officers in the best positions to succeed by bridging important funding and community outreach gaps between the CPD and the city of Charlottesville.

For additional information, visit the Charlottesville Police Foundation at or contact Ms. Milligan at