By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald
---- — CLINTON — Sworn to serve and protect, the Clinton Police Department is an organization filled with a unique breed of men and women and on Wednesday they welcomed 19 citizens into an association that supports them.
After 12 weeks of training with the CPD learning the ins and outs of police work, the 19th annual Clinton Citizens Police Academy members earned their honor and received a certificate of completion, graduating to alumni of the CPA.
“Since (1995) we’ll be graduating our 19th class and that’s almost unprecedented in law enforcement,” Police Chief Brian Guy said. “People are thirsty to keep coming back and wanting to know more about their police department so for that we appreciate everyone in Clinton who’s been through the academy.”
Joining that long list of graduated CPA classes was motivation for some to join the educational program. For others, learning about the men and women who vow to protect the Clinton community and the details of their life of service was motivation enough.
And what they learned is something they never expected.
“There are a lot of things that go on that you don’t think, or know, are going on,” CPA graduate Lon Young said. “This was a real eye-opener for me.”
Lon and his wife, Jennifer, decided to join the Citizens Police Academy after their son told them he wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement. They thought that by learning more about the life of a police officer, they would better understand why he chose that path.
If given a second chance, Jennifer said she would do it all over again.
“I don’t know if I would have done this if it wasn’t for him but I’m so glad we did,” she said. “It was well worth it and I encourage everyone to give it a try.”
The room at Clinton Community College was filled with vastly different individuals with different reasons for joining the CPA, but Wednesday they united as a team committed to spreading their knowledge of what the police department does for the community.
Cpl. Pat Cullen delivered the speech calling for that commitment, encouraging all 19 newly inducted CPA members to stand proudly with their officer counterparts in spreading a message of peace and safety within the community.
“You’ve experienced what most people haven’t,” said Cullen. “You’re special now; you’re one of us. Take your experiences here and tell everyone.”
CPA graduate Linda Mangler plans to do exactly that when she joins the Citizens Police Academy Alumni and hopes she can inspire others to join the program just as others inspired her.
“I belong to the Landlords Association and several people told me that I should join the Citizens Police Academy,” she said. “It was beyond what I thought it would be. I had no inkling that we would learn so much.”
“It really opened up my eyes and I would definitely do it again,” she added.
Amy Kent can be contacted at email@example.com.