For the third time in just more than a year, a Dawson County Sheriff’s officer graduated at the top of the class at the Regional Police Academy in Athens.
Katie Drum, 26, clocked the highest academic score of 29 cadets that graduated during the academy’s 235th class March 19.
“I was surprised. I knew there were a few others whose scores would be pretty close,” she said.
The 408 hour basic law enforcement training course runs for 10 weeks and covers topics such as familiarization with the criminal justice system, responsibilities as law enforcement officers, court proceedings and testimony, as well as criminal booking and what happens when a suspect is arrested.
With a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from North Georgia College & State University, Drum joined the department in 2005 as a jailer, following several months as an intern.
Progressing up the ranks, Drum, who lives in Cumming, has also worked in crime scene investigations and now serves as sergeant of inmate services in the detention center.
Maj. Jeff Johnson, jail commander, said he was not surprised Drum scored at the top of her class.
“It’s no surprise to us that she took top honors. I wished I had a slew of them just like her,” Johnson said. “Katie’s dependable. She’s reliable. She’s what you look for.”
Attributes like those forged Drum ahead of other officers wishing to be considered for the department’s newly created inmate services position, Johnson said.
“She’s perfect for that position and has already made significant strides in a such a critical function here at the detention center,” he said.
Drum, said while she has no intentions of moving away from administration, she did find the academy’s patrol classes interesting.
“A lot of the classes are aimed toward patrol, and it’s interesting to see that aspect and how the criminal justice system flows together,” Drum said. “I’m enjoying it a lot.”
Jeff Brown, now an officer in court services, graduated at the top of his class last July.
Six months earlier, Jarrett Simpson, who is now an investigator, also graduated at the top of his class.
Late last year, Jason Blackwell received the Top Gun Award for his graduating class for scoring the highest at the firing range.