From February 22 to April 4th, I attended (with about 11 other people) the Citizens Academy offered by Henry County Sheriff’s Office. Once a week, for three intense, exciting hours, we participants were instructed in organizations, procedures, techniques, and tools in the criminal justice system. We only touched the surface, as the instructors told us, and I’m grateful we didn’t go deeper. It was almost whirlwind, but I was never ready to go home, even after three hours, and not ready to have completed the course after seven weeks. Lecture, videos, power point, live demonstrations, and hands-on–oh, chills. Meth labs and consequences of meth use (not hands-on). Handcuffed. Put in the back of a patrol car. Backing up a partner at a traffic stop. Finding a dismembered body (mannequin) in the back of a vehicle. Crime-scene investigation. Domestic abuse call and report. Canine-partner, lovely, smart, and FOCUSED.
I will duck anywhere in the world if I hear “Taser, taser, taser.” I will never again get so excited over hitting a firing-range target (paper) that I dance with a loaded revolver. (The video guy dropped his camcorder and my instructor grabbed the barrel of my revolver.)
I may be joking around a little here, but my respect for the officers conducting the academy is deep and sincere. They were professional in their own discipline and in teaching. They modeled preparation, expertise, patience, compassion, and teamwork. They taught together.
The course made very clear that these men and women should have their off- duty time be truly off-duty. They were constantly alert, even though these academy hours were for them additionalhours, without pay or compensation other than our attention and appreciation. A good group all around, including all the participants, and a valuable experience.