DPD citizens’ program recognizes nine new graduates

Graduates from the Demopolis Police Department's Citizen Police Academy were, from left, Brenda McMillian, Reba Samuel, Timothy Thurman, Carol Curtis, President Joni Craft, Brittney Knox, Constance Lawson, Georgia Mae Weston and Rannet Jones. In front are Police Chief Tommie Reese and Sgt. Richard Bryant.

Graduates of the Demopolis Police Department’s Citizen Police Academy were, from left, Brenda McMillian, Reba Samuel, Timothy Thurman, Carol Curtis, President Joni Craft, Brittney Knox, Constance Lawson, Georgia Mae Weston and Rannet Jones. In front are Police Chief Tommie Reese and Sgt. Richard Bryant.

Nine Demopolis residents graduated from the Demopolis Police Department’s Citizen Police Academy Tuesday evening, and now join 59 others who have gained a deeper understanding of law enforcement.

“The police department has now completed six CPA classes, with 68 total attendees, and the alumni of this program have contributed $2,550 to the Demopolis Police Department,” inaugural CPA class member Mike Evans to the group of graduates. “You got to see what the ladies and gentlemen (of DPD) do every day. They have to bear more than they should at times, and going through this class gave you a different perspective and appreciation for law enforcement.”

Class members echoed Evans’ comments. “This program taught me a lot of respect for the police department,” said graduate Constance Lawson. “Everyone learned a lot. Any question we asked, they answered it.”

Lawson’s classmate Timothy Thurman agreed. “The police officers impressed me with the level of training they receive,” Thurman said. “We have a very good police force here in Demopolis.”

Graduates completed a nine-week program in which they learned about law enforcement techniques, personal safety tips and police ethics, among other law enforcement concepts. The program also included firearms training and ride-alongs with officers on duty.

“These individuals began a journey to become better citizens by enrolling in the academy,” DPD Sgt. Richard Bryant told the audience gathered in the Municipal Courtroom to recognize the graduates. “They were very attentive and very inquisitive. They learned a lot from us, but we also learned a lot from them.”

Class president Joni Craft said she and her classmates now have a better understanding of law enforcement’s role in a community. Much of it is preventing crime and danger, not just responding to it. “I encourage our fellow citizens to support law enforcement and help promote a safe city,” she said.

Mayor Mike Grayson was also on hand to congratulate the graduates. “We all know that ‘stuff’ happens,” he said. “Some things happen because of what we do, and some things happen because of what we don’t do. The difference between a good community and a lethargic community are things like this program, where people are interested and concerned and get involved.”