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Demopolis Public Safety honors academy graduates

The Demopolis Citizens’ Public Safety Academy has completed its latest class and honored the most recent graduates of the program during a ceremony on Sunday, Jan. 21.

This class marks the first since the Demopolis police and fire departments merged into a department of public safety. Previously the class was designed for the police department, but this latest class also took classes geared toward learning about the fire department as well.

The class was initiated in 2010 by Police Chief Tommie Reese, who now serves as the city’s director of public safety, as a way of “bridging the gap between police and the community.”

The current graduates participated in 14 weekly sessions that focused on issues such as police ethics, firearm safety, CPR, fire prevention and safety, and an overview of the local departments.

The guest speaker at Sunday’s graduation was Dr. Aliquippa Allen, the interim dean of College of Business Technology at the University of West Alabama and a Demopolis resident. In her address, she encouraged the graduates to continue getting involved in their community.

“We hear all the time how there is ‘nothing to do’ in Demopolis,” Allen said. “But, if you want something to do there are things, such as this program, or Leadership Marengo County, or serving on a city board. By being active participants we can create a more informed community.”

The graduates of this year’s program were Janelle Adams, Valarie Bailey, Debbie Butler, Heather Cole, Russ Gaddy, Heather Parson, Eugena Williams, and Julius Rembert who served as the group’s president.

“We really learned a lot and it gave us a deeper appreciation for the police and fire departments,” Rembert said.

As graduates, the members of the class will join previous graduates in the DPSCA Alumni Association, a group that volunteer to assist and support the public safety department.

Reese said the class allows participants to have a greater understanding of how police and fire departments operate.

“People wonder why officers do certain things or why the fire truck is doing this, why is it doing that. We want to educate our citizens about what we do,” he said.

Demopolis Mayor John Laney closed out the ceremony.

“I believe this academy point’s out (Reese’s) vision of inclusiveness. Taking the time to organize and prepare for these classes is a commitment for all those involved and I thank you all for that,” Laney said.

Graduate certificates were presented by Reese and Class Instructor Richard Bryant who said, “We had the chance to interact with them each week and we really enjoyed it. They learned from us and we learned from them.”

Applications for the upcoming Spring Session DCPSA (2018-1) are currently being accepted. The class will begin March 13. Those wishing to participate may stop by the Demopolis police or fire departments to obtain an application or visit www.demopd.org. Candidates must be at least 21 years old, live or work within Demopolis, no prior felony convictions, no assault, domestic violence, or weapons convictions, and no misdemeanor arrests within five years of application. Any requirement may be waived upon review and approval of the public safety director.

For more information about the academy call 334-289-3073 or 334-289-1212.