WCSO Citizens’ Academy Graduates Largest Class Ever
Wilson County Sheriff’s Office honored its largest ever Sheriff’s Citizens’ Academy class Tuesday night following a 10-week session that gave citizens a glimpse into what law enforcement officers encounter on a regular basis.
The 24 graduates of varying ages were all smiles as Sheriff Robert Bryan congratulated each and thanked them for attending what was sure to be a unique educational opportunity over 10 weeks.
“A lot of people hear only one side of what law enforcement officers do in certain situations, and there’s been a lot of negative publicity around our country,” Sheriff Bryan said. “We really appreciate you all taking your time away from your families and your commitment to understanding what we do in the Sheriff’s Office. That means a lot. And we appreciate all our instructors, alumni and everyone who has made this possible.”
Sheriff Bryan started the Sheriff’s Citizens Academy three years ago to offer the community and business people a voluntary opportunity to get a better understanding of and full exposure to the Sheriff’s Office.
“This class helps to foster a better understanding between the citizens and the Sheriff’s Office,” said Wilson County Sheriff’s Sgt. James Lanier. “It familiarizes the citizens with how the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office operates. This course shows how different the Sheriff’s Office is from the other law enforcement offices in Wilson County, how much more responsibility the Office has compared to other agencies.”
All applicants had to apply for and pass a background check in order attend the Citizens’ Academy. During the intensive course, students got a glimpse into real-life situations law enforcement face each day. Some of the topics included Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, domestic violence, patrol procedures, Schools Resource Officers, Civil and Criminal Warrants, DUI awareness, handcuffing procedures and other law enforcement functions. The course also included hands-on activities, field trips such as a three-hour jail tour, a visit to the firing range, lectures by Communications dispatchers, a representative from the District Attorney’s Office, demonstrations in boating safety and the Office’s Special Response Team among other activities.
“The Citizen’s Sheriff’s Academy provides a unique interactive look at the scope of our county’s law enforcement,” said Sam Shallenberger, a graduate of the Citizen’s Sheriff’s Academy and President of the Academy’s Alumni Association, who expressed his appreciation for those who made the 10-week course possible. “I came away from the experience with the impression that the Sheriff’s Office is like an iceberg, with only a portion visible to the general public. And now, we hope that you will go tell others what you think of this class and hope to see many join our alumni association that Sgt. Lanier has established.”
Sheriff Bryan told everyone he is anticipating many more classes in the future. “You are now part of our family,” he told the graduates.
The next Citizen’s Academy is scheduled for September 8.