Week 10 of a citizen’s police academy

Alas, the time has come. (I don’t use “alas” very often, so am taking advantage of this opportunity.)

Citizen’s police academy has come to an end. The 10 weeks flew by, and I gained a lot of great insight and tidbits about my community that I can easily put into stories and novels.

The last night of class focused on police department volunteers – including the full-time police chaplain, a representative from the police explorers, and volunteer who spends time once a week filing in the records room, and another volunteer who has been doing various tasks for the department for the past 15 years.

I was about to say that 15 years is a long time to be a volunteer, but I’ve been a Big Sister to a girl through Big Brothers Big Sisters for 8 years now. I met her when she was 9. We’ve been getting together for 1/2 a day every Sunday all this time. So 15 years doesn’t seem all that long now.

The police department is certainly getting its money’s worth with the chaplain. The woman has been a full-time volunteer for about 1.5 years. She’s available 24×7 for the town’s citizens, its officers, and anyone she comes in contact with who is in need. Her husband is a former officer and manages to keep the house afloat while Deb tends her flock, as it were.

She’s someone I plan to talk to again – she was a private investigator in a previous life and has degrees in criminal justice administration and a masters in forensic science. She’s lived and worked in New York and California before coming to this small town in New Hampshire.

She spends a lot of time learning new skills so that she can be a help to officers during emergencies – whether it’s learning how to direct traffic properly, help out in hazardous situations, or going on a call to notify about a death. She’s taken courses with OSHA and FEMA and disaster response, as well as CERT (citizen’s emergency response team).

She is a very interesting person – and is an ordained minister who found her calling was to be a police department chaplain. I spent a lot of the hour listening to her developing a character sketch. I mean – wow! – her background and experience would make a very interesting protagonists, don’t you think?

Citizen police academy diplomaThe officers treated us to pizza and other goodies that evening, and then we had our “graduation” where we received our diplomas and had our photos taken with the sergeant and chief.

Then they surprised us with this beautiful cake:

Citizen police academy graduation cake

It was delicious. 🙂

I’m glad I took notes during the 10 weeks because even in looking back at them now, the refresher has been inspiring. So much fodder for stories – and so many great contacts for when I have questions.

Thanks for reading this series. I’ve enjoyed memorializing the experience and hope that if you get a chance to attend an academy or even a workshop, that you will. The (free) education is priceless – especially to a mystery writer!

About Lisa Haselton

Lisa Haselton has had several short mystery stories published and has a couple of novels in various stages of completion. She always enjoys learning new tidbits about other writers, and takes great pride as an editor when working with writers on polishing their manuscripts. She's living a life around her passions for writing, photography, volunteering, and anything related to New England, particularly New Hampshire.
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2 Responses to Week 10 of a citizen’s police academy

  1. Beth Kanell says:

    Lisa, thanks for sharing the 10 weeks with us all — it’s been eye-opening and fascinating! Good writing ahead for you, for sure, and well earned.

  2. edithmaxwell says:

    Ditto what Beth said. I have never lived in a town that offers such an academy so I have loved reading about your experience. That chaplain has got to become a protagonist somewhere! Thanks so much, Lisa, for sharing.

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