Citizens Police Academy graduates recognized

By Tom Joyce

April 24, 2014

High school commencement ceremonies are still weeks away in this area, but one graduation event has already occurred.

It involved members of the 14th-annual Mount Airy Citizens Police Academy (CPA). The class was recognized at a meeting of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners last week.

The Citizens Police Academy provides local residents the opportunity to learn about law enforcement operations during a series of classes held weekly from January to March.

Topics included traffic enforcement techniques, police dog and crisis-management team (most commonly known as SWAT) activities, firearms training, narcotics investigations, arrest and search/seizure procedures, laws and ordinances, training, court functions and more. The sessions were led by officers in each area of expertise.

With the graduation of the latest class, which had 24 members, 312 people have completed the program during its 14-year duration, according to Police Chief Dale Watson.

“The program has been very beneficial to us, and the community,” Watson said of the sessions that allow participants a personal viewpoint of department members. “They get to know the officers as people, not just (someone) in positions of authority.”

The graduates received certificates of completion, and also were given the opportunity to comment on their experience to the audience at the meeting.

They used phrases such as “very informative,” “rewarding,” “helpful and really beneficial” and “a worthwhile course” to describe the program that graduates said they would highly recommend to anyone who’d never participated.

Class members were especially appreciative of the opportunity to ride along with officers, a popular segment of the program, and see them operate in the field.

“I do not feel better about society as a whole as a result of this class,” CPA graduate Cynthia M. Puckett said. “However, I will say I am confident we are in good hands.”

In addition to Puckett, graduates include Thelma Allen, Bruce E. Arnold, Joy N. Bowman, Patricia S. Collins, Elaine S. Dillon, Emilia M. Domnaru, Vickie H. Dupree, Carol E. Dunning, Belinda J. Elmore, Joan G. Godwin, Felton R. Godwin, Edith M. Gwyn, Scarlett L. Hiatt, Barbara A. Hill, John K. Hollingsworth;

Also, Anita N. John, Elizabeth A. Martin, Gregg H. Martin, Susan S. Martin, John R. Pritchard, Steven L. Spencer, Deborah L. Wood and Mark D. Wyatt.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-719-1924 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.