I am really excited about this column. Why? Because last year I was privileged to attend the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department Citizens Academy.
I was an active participant in the program. I, along with Jan Jarson, and about 16 others spent a portion of our lives listening to those whom are sworn to “protect and serve.”
The Hancock County Sherriff’s Department under the leadership of Sherriff Mike Shepherd will once again offer this course.
Jan Jarson and I were and still are enthusiastic about the program. Jan currently serves on the New Palestine Town Board. As a board member, she is charged with overseeing the office of Town Marshal Bob Ehle.
Here is a synopsis of the academy:
A direct quote from Sgt. Bridget Foy. “The sheriff’s citizen academy is a look into the daily responsibilities of the HCSD. The HCSD believes that educating the citizens of Hancock County will aid in police/community rapport. In turn, the sheriff’s department becomes more aware of the feelings and concerns of the community through input of its students.”
I can attest to the fact that Sgt. Foy is quite capable of running this program. She is a veteran of almost three decades in Law enforcement. She knows her stuff.
What are some of the topics? Criminal law, K-9 demos, Taser, S.W.A.T. demo, traffic stops, jail tour, CSI (crime scene investigations), public relations and family violence.
And this is by no means and exhaustive list for this academy.
When is the academy, and who can attend? Any interested citizen who is at least 18 years of age or older who lives or works in Hancock County is eligible to attend free.
The citizen academy will meet every Tuesday night for 11 consecutive weeks with a three-hour instructional period. At the end of the program, there will be a field practice day.
Several departmental members will role-play scenarios of incidents that are likely to occur in law enforcement.
Classes begin March 3 and run from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
How do I apply?
You can get an application by calling 317-477-1147. Or you can pick up and application at the department, 123 E. Main St., Greenfield.
You could also visit the department website at sheriffweb.hancockcoingov.org. Click on “Citizen Academy” to download or print information.
For more information, contact Sgt. Bridget Foy, 317-477-1199. Or you can email Sgt. Foy at email@example.com.
Here is what I came away from after attending this academy in 2014.
First of all I gained a deeper respect for the men and women of the sheriff’s department. Not only for them but also for all first-responders.
It was my privilege to serve Sugar Creek Township for 10 years as trustee. In that capacity, the Sugar Creek Townshipmy command.
Periodically I would field calls from people who were upset that our emergency vehicles were speeding to an emergency scene. My response was always the same: “If you knew that the first-responders were headed to save the life of your loved one, how fast would you want them to get there?”
Secondly, what I gained from my experience was the following: I had no clue what the department did in the area of traffic stops, of family violence, of crime scene investigations. But I quickly found out their role in these situations.
Sgt. Foy and her fellow offices do an outstanding job of conveying their message. And hands-on? Wow!
Have you ever experienced the thrill of shooting a high-powered assault weapon? (Under police supervision.)
Well, I got to experience this and many more things during this 11 weeks. We visited Hancock County’s 911 center. We watched a controlled S.W.A.T. operation, which includes Hancock County’s very own K-9 dogs. Sgt. Foy brings in prosecutors and defense attorneys to talk about actual cases that have occurred in Hancock County. We also heard from family service organizations in the county.
The culmination off the academy is the graduation ceremony.
Also, after graduation. You can either opt to spend a shift in the Hancock County Jail or do a ride-along with a deputy. I chose the latter.
I rode with Deputy Wes. I have done this a couple of times. My, what an eye-opener that was.
This academy may not be for all folk in Hancock County, but to this author, it was most enlightening.
Jan Jarson also concurs with this last statement.
If you think this is something that you would be interested in, I urge you to get in touch with Sgt. Foy. Trust me; the class will fill up quickly.
C.O. Montgomery is a former teacher and township trustee. He is a New Palestine resident.