The first Citizens’ Law Enforcement Academy of Franklin County will wrap up next month and Franklin county Sheriff Steve Pelton says he is pleased with the feedback the department has received.
The first day of class for the academy was held in February. The 12-week session will end May 13 with a dinner and graduation.
“We are getting a lot of positive feedback for the citizen academy,” Pelton told The Missourian. “The class members are very attentive and they ask great questions.”
There are 21 people in the inaugural class. Members meet weekly to cover a variety of topics providing awareness of the sheriff’s office functions.
The volunteers in the class learned about the history of the sheriff’s office, procedures and the law in general.
Pelton reached out to neighborhood watch leaders in the county to sit in on the inaugural class.
He said that gives an opportunity for the message to be shared with more captive audiences.
According to Pelton, the classes are led by himself or department heads and command staff at the sheriff’s office.
Last week the class learned protocol scenarios and used a Firearms Training Systems (FATS) machine that simulates situations deputies may encounter.
“It really is a cool piece of machinery,” Pelton said. “The class enjoyed that and learned that there are many different scenarios and outcomes deputies face.”
The class has toured the Franklin County Adult Detention Center, heard a SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team presentation, as well as an opportunity to learn from detectives the process of an investigation.
“They have been fascinated by the whole gambit of information,” Pelton added.
Plans call for a second class in 2020.
“We are definitely doing another one,” Pelton commented. “Our hope is to do this annually.”
A primary goal for the citizen academy is to build relationships between the sheriff’s office and county residents.
“I always stress that we are better together in this community if law enforcement and citizens collaborate,” Pelton said.
Participants must be 18 years old, and live, work or own property in Franklin County.
They cannot be a convicted felon or have a lengthy violent criminal history.
Students who come under criminal investigation should remove themselves from the program until the investigation is concluded, Pelton added.
The sheriff’s academy is not a physically demanding program. Adults of all ages are encouraged to apply. To apply people can contact the sheriff’s office at 636-582-2560.
A primary goal during Pelton’s campaign for office in 2017 was community outreach.
The academy won’t produce commissioned officers, but it will strengthen bonds between his office and participants.