Area high school and college students are not the only ones involved in graduation ceremonies this spring — there’s also the Mount Airy Citizens Police Academy.
Its latest class was treated to a commencement ceremony of sorts during last week’s meeting of the city Board of Commissioners, led by top officials of the Mount Airy Police Department.
While they weren’t wearing gowns or mortarboards, the 27 local citizens involved did receive diplomas for successfully completing the Citizens Police Academy held over the course of the winter and early spring.
Unlike a typical commencement ceremony, the grads weren’t forced to listen to lofty speeches, but each got the chance to tell those gathered during the May 18 council meeting what participating in the Citizens Police Academy meant to them.
Most mentioned how the series of classes involved — held mostly in a training room at the police station, but also including a patrol ride-along — opened their eyes about law enforcement operations.
They said it gave them a new appreciation for police work, while encouraging other citizens to participate in the next Citizens Police Academy that begins in January.
This year marked the 17th Citizens Police Academy, which with the latest class — including two elected officials — has produced about 375 graduates.
The 2017 group includes Morris N. Allred, Alan G. Bagshaw, Lloyd A. Bell, Margaret S. Barnette, Tamara Carter, Commissioner Jon Cawley, Elizabeth A. Darisse, Donald M. Dickerson, Sheryl W. Dickerson, Bobbie J. Easter;
Also, Len Fawcett, Robert Fritchey, Mary S. Gregory, Theresa Hughes, Stephen M. Linville, James C. “Jim” Locke, Joseph P. Logan, Mariah Logan, Randall A. Lynch, Paul L. Madren Jr., Brian C. McPeak, Dennis A. Mitchell, Gary W. Mitchell, John A. Pflug, Vera S. Reynolds, Mayor David Rowe and Jane C. Tesh.
The group gathered for two hours each Monday night from early January to late March to learn about topics such as crime prevention, narcotics investigations, Crisis Management Team (CMT) operations and more.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.