Citizens Academy has been a success

Published 10:24 am Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Jemison Municipal Court Judge Craig Cleckley talks to Jemison Police Department Citizens Academy participants at the Jemison Municipal Complex last week.

Many Jemison residents are taking advantage of a rare opportunity: learning more about law enforcement without being issued a citation, arrested or forced to make a court appearance.

The Jemison Police Department’s first Citizens Academy so far has done what organizers hoped it would, offering residents insight in hopes of producing a more educated and aware populace.

“We’ve done everything from traffic stops, troopers, firearms, ride-along programs, worked mock crime scenes, gone over paperwork, turning in case files—they’re getting a lot out of it,” Deputy Police Chief Marc McMinn said. “A lot of them didn’t realize what all went into it until they came in and started doing it.”

Last week, participants heard about the local court system from Municipal Court Judge Craig Cleckley, District Court Judge Rhonda Hardesty, Circuit Court Judge Sibley Reynolds and Juvenile Probation Officer Jessica Messer.

This week, Academy enrollees were scheduled to visit the 911 office in the Chilton County Courthouse.

A tour of the county jail is also planned.

Between 10 and 15 people—ranging in ages from teenagers to those in their 60s—have participated in each session.

Graduation ceremonies will be held on July 5.

“Then we’re going to start making plans to do it next year,” McMinn said.