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Citizens complete law enforcement academy
citizens law enforcement academy
Participants in the Citizens Law Enforcement Academy meet with members of the Dawson County Sheriff's Office during one of the academy's classes. - photo by For the Dawson County News

The Dawson County Sheriff’s Office recently completed its 2018 Citizen’s Law Enforcement Academy.

This year’s seven week program was designed to better introduce participants to all aspects of the sheriff’s office by getting the students involved.

“We were determined to change the delivery of our program to incorporate more hands-on and practical exercises,” said Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson. “We wanted to impart a greater understanding of the duties and responsibilities required of this office. It is one thing to discuss these tasks, but performing them puts things in a different perspective.”

Thirty-two students participated in various exercises including simulated 911 tasks, jail cell searches, traffic stops, investigating crime scenes, securing the court house and more.  

In addition, several students participated in a ride-along with patrol officers.

“We were excited to see the increased enthusiasm and participation. This was one of the largest sessions that I can recall,” said Johnson.

The class also incorporated another popular sheriff’s office sponsored training event: citizen’s firearms training.

This year’s academy class participated in the classroom portion which covered firearms laws, fundamentals, handling and safety prior to reporting to the range for live fire training.

"The (sheriff’s office) truly conveyed that ‘To Protect and To Serve’ is more than just a motto. We are very blessed to have such law enforcement in our county," said participant Dick Kinzie.

Many of the participants expressed their appreciation for the informational course, saying they found it fun and educational.

“Thanks to the CLEA Program, I feel a rather special bond to our officers, even those that I did not meet,” said participant Gary Holland.

The class culminated in a graduation dinner where each participant was recognized for their efforts. Public Safety Chaplains Dr. Charles Blackstock and Ron Link were present to discuss the vital role and responsibilities required of the law enforcement chaplain. County Commissioners Sharon Fausett and Jimmy Hamby were in attendance, along with State Representative Kevin Tanner who took time to address the academy graduates.

"It was truly our honor and privilege to share our office with members of our community,” said Johnson. “Having the ability to build those relationships will most certainly develop a deeper level of trust, commitment and service between our community and their law enforcement officers."