The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

February 20, 2013

TPD’s Citizens Police Academy graduates first class

The Daily Southerner
John H. Walker

TARBORO — The first graduates of the Tarboro Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy (CPA) were presented their diplomas and a CPT T-shirt during ceremonies in the council chambers of the Tarboro Town Hall Tuesday night.

The 10-week program got under way in early December as the 12 participants met for three hours each Tuesday night en route to the finale.

Sgt. Al Braxton, who was given the responsibility of running the program, said he thought the cadets learned a lot about all of the nuances of a policeman’s job.

Chief Damon Williams said he was happy to have the additional trained eyes on the street.

“We have 30 officers for a town of 15,000 … 20,000 with people coming to work during the day, and 30 people just can’t police that many people,” he said. “We need all the extra eyes we can get on the street.”

Williams said the opportunity for the participants — cadets, as they were designated — allowed them to see what the officers see.

“It’s different when you see things from our perspective,” he said.

Williams called CPA a bridging program, because, he said, it helps build a bridge between the community and the police department.

“I hope you’ll go out and share with the community what you’ve learned and how difficult the job is that we do.”

Mayor Donald Morris said he wished all municipal departments could take advantage of a program like CPA.

“I wish all our departments could be seen in the light in which you’ve seen our police department.”

Morris then mentioned the various departments and noted the work they do in weather good and bad, hot and cold, calm and stormy.

Graduate Everett Hine thanked Williams for getting the program going.

“I tried and tried to get someone to start this program, but it never happened … I don’t know if it was money or what. I had attended the Rocky Mount program and saw the progress they were making there between the citizens and the police and knew it had to be good for Tarboro.”

Kathryn Lucas turned and faced a row of officers sitting in the back of the room and said, “Thank you. It was most enjoyable and informative and you don’t get paid enough for what you do. I learned that you do a whole lot with not a lot of resources. It’s just amazing what you do.”

Williams said the next academy would get under way in November or December.

“We’ll do it annually then, as interest grows, we’ll do it twice a year.”