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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Snellville's Citizen Police Academy featured in news article

A Gwinnett Daily Post shares the value of citizen law-enforcement academies. I have excerpted the parts of the article about Snellville in particular. At the end of this post, there is a link if you would like to read the entire article.
Snellville resident Zulma Differ, a parent outreach liaison with Gwinnett Public Schools, was looking forward to blasting a 9 mm at a local gun range, a highlight of her local academy.

“I work with children every day, with parents in the community ... in a high-crime area that’s very transient,” Differ said. “It’s good for me to know these things.”

Snellville police Chief Roy Whitehead said the benefits are reciprocal.

“This is a firsthand opportunity to interact with police officers when (residents are) not on the back end of the blue lights,” Whitehead said. “They become our diplomats, or advocates, in the community.”

Not to mention financial supporters. The Snellville academy’s alumni association, a not-for-profit that raises cash through golf tourneys and other means, is currently helping the department buy a $7,000 K-9 officer.
“We wouldn’t get that any other way,” Whitehead said.

....Snellville police Detective Trey Downs observed that about half his department’s attendees are unemployed, ranging in age from their early 20s to mid-70s. Some are exploring law enforcement as a career; many just need a hobby.

“Generally, we get a lot of retirees,” Downs said.

....Jim Barrett, of Snellville, sees value in the rapport he’s developed with officers via his local academy. Four residents of 60 in his Ravenwood subdivision are academy alumni, and they’ve squashed a recent scourge of crime as serious as robbery perpetuated by teenagers, he said.

“It was painfully obvious we were not paying attention. That’s changed, and it’s changed wonderfully,” Barrett said. “I’ll tell you one thing, if some strange kid walks through our neighborhood, he’ll be picked up by about half a dozen eyes.”

Excerpted from:
Police value citizen academy grads as community 'diplomats'

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