87 students graduate from Jr. Deputy AcademyBy Emily Etheredge Published 3:38pm Friday, August 9, 2013
Colton Fells learned three principles this week including courage, self-discipline and integrity.
“I need to listen to my parents more and always try to do the right thing,” Fells said.
Fells, 14, was one of 87 students to graduate from the fourth annual Junior Deputy Academy on Friday sponsored by the Chilton County Sheriff’s Department.
Although the marching portion of the academy where the students were taught to stay in formation was the hardest part of the week for Fells, getting to swim in Clanton’s City Pool with the sheriff’s dive team was his favorite.
“We actually got to get in the water which was really neat,” Fells said. “Breathing through the regulator was a lot of fun.”
The program allows children between the ages of 8 and 18 to see what the department faces each day with topics including physical fitness, self-discipline, jail operations, responsibility, leadership, criminal investigations and dive team.
Classes about weapon safety, sheriff’s office operations, narcotics investigations, K-9 and SWAT were also offered.
The students showed up Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the LeCroy Career Technical Center and graduated from the academy at the Chilton County Courthouse after marching through downtown Clanton early Friday morning.
Judge Rhonda Hardesty spoke to the students inside the courthouse and commended them for spending the week learning valuable tools that will allow them to be leaders in the community.
“This is wonderful for me to be looking at so many people doing the right thing,” Hardesty said.
Sheriff Kevin Davis and Deputy David Hubbard thanked the parents in attendance for diligently bringing their children to the program each day.
“From this point forward, each one of you represents the sheriff’s office,” Davis said.
Kaitlin Sharpston, 17, said she hopes to grow up and become a United States Marshall and enjoyed spending time learning about the dive team.
Sharpston’s sister, Sara, 15, said learning about the K-9 dogs was “neat” and enjoyed the prison tour.
Logan Mayfield, 12, was impressed with seeing a high-speed chase in the patrol section of the course but thought the marching was the hardest portion due to the warm temperatures outside.
“We had to march when it was really hot and I think that was the hardest part,” Mayfield said. “I still had fun though.”
Hubbard said this is the largest Junior Deputy Academy he has seen in several years and thanked volunteers who worked throughout the week to make the program a success.
“There are a lot of on-scene worker bees who help make this happen and we have had a wonderful week,” Hubbard said. “I appreciate each and every one of you.”