Friday, Sep. 28, 2012
Academy gives residents look at law enforcement
Cass County Sheriff’s Office hosts citizen academy
By Bethany Bashioum
The Cass County Sheriff’s Office is once again giving residents a glimpse of county law enforcement practices through an eight week-long Citizen’s Academy.
The course is free of charge and is open to county residents or business owners who are 18 years of age or older and have no felony or serious misdemeanor convictions.
Sheriff Dwight Diehl initiated the course in 2008 to give people who reside in the county an in-depth look and hands-on training into the career of law enforcement and the criminal justice system.
Each week, a different topic is addressed and discussed.
In its ninth season, about 20 residents gathered for the second, three-hour session of the program Sept. 19.
Through the early part of the evening, Lowell Wolf, a semi-retired lawyer who provides general legal counsel to the Sheriff’s Office, and who previously participated in the Citizen’s Academy as a member of the community last year, presented an overview of constitutional law and how it relates to the law enforcement.
“To begin it all, we have to have a foundation. That foundation is rooted in our constitution and state statutes,” Maj. Jeff Weber said. “While judges, juries and lawyers get the opportunity to litigate things for days, weeks, months, and years, sometimes, the average deputy out on the road has to have a pretty good grasp on a lot of it that he can apply in the few minutes that he has to deal with a situation.”
With his involvement with the Sheriff’s Office, Wolf is also close to completing the requirements to become a sworn deputy through their training academy.
During Wolf’s lecture, small groups of individuals took turns to visit the Sheriff’s Office shooting range to fire a submachine gun.
Weber then closed the Sept. 19 session with a presentation about traffic laws and county ordinances – and about how well-versed police officers must be to respond appropriately to a vast array of incidents that may occur while on duty.
Throughout the remaining six weeks of the program, participants will also have the opportunity to discuss emergency management and the county’s 9-1-1 programs, crash investigations, crime scenes and cyber crime, the county’s court system, and more, with the Sheriff’s staff.
Citizens will also have the opportunity to do ride alongs with a patrol deputy, work with jail deputies and communication officers, and other hands-on tasks.
“They see about every operation of the Sheriff’s Office – from the front office, handling concealed carry weapon permits and finger-printing operation – all the way through to the jail in the back. And at one point, they get to experience driving a patrol car through cones in the parking lot,” Wolf said.
The program will conclude with a graduation at the conclusion of the eight-week program.