Police outreach worth the time involved

Published 4:30 pm Friday, August 12, 2011

Sunday afternoon, I had the privilege to attend the graduation ceremony of the Demopolis Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy.

By the end of the night Lisa Anderson, Ronnie Clarke, Joyce Grant, Judy Pritchett, Jacqueline Thomas, Lydia Trest and Melanie Soronen received a certificate and pin commemorating their achievement.

Melanie, the wife of Demopolis police sergeant Tim Soronen, served as the class president.

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The ceremony was the culmination of eight weeks of work and effort on behalf of the citizens and the Demopolis Police Officers who lent their expertise over nearly 24 hours of class time.

Chief Tommie Reese and Training Officer Bobby Howerton put a lot of time and effort into organizing this class and it clearly shows in the results.

What Chief Reese has done now is to arm these business and community leaders with the experience and knowledge to understand how the police department works in day-to-day operations and what it takes for them to perform their job at the level of excellence that we’ve all come to expect.

For most of us, our dealings with police officers comes under negative circumstances. And even more of us don’t really understand the processes officers must follow to do their jobs well and by the letter of the law.

Just because you know your neighbor is the one who stole your lawnmower doesn’t mean the police are in a position to do anything about it. And just because you were running late for work and pulled over for doing 75 in a 55 zone doesn’t mean it’s the officer’s fault you were speeding.

These men and women are charged with great responsibilities that they must carry out in force for, and in some cases, against their friends and neighbors.

I appreciate both the willingness of the class of Citizens Police Academy graduates to dedicate their personal time to this class and the efforts of the Demopolis Police Department to inform our community by arming them with knowledge.

An informed public is a powerful public, and it’s that kind of dedication to community that has caused Demopolis to thrive and, ultimately, grow.

Applications for the next class are currently being accepted. I would encourage each of you to investigate this opportunity and enroll in the chance to better understand what it takes to serve and protect our community.

Jason Cannon is the publisher of The Demopolis Times.