It has been almost a week since I graduated from the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office Citizens’ Academy. I miss it already. There were thirteen of us who received certificates at the graduation ceremony last Tuesday, November 5. Our leaders, Julia Rush and Detention Officer Erik Hagesether, did a wonderful job putting the program together and making it interesting and informative for us. They spent countless hours behind the scenes to line up speakers and make the necessary arrangements for each class.
I was impressed that the beginning of the graduation ceremony began with the Presentation of Colors by the MCSO Honor Guard, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and Invocation by Chaplain Walter Dennis. Ms. Rush introduced our guest speaker, Sheriff Chipp Bailey. He told us that although he was not present at our meetings, he kept tabs on what we were doing. He feels that it is important for citizens of Mecklenburg County to understand the function of the Sheriff’s Office, and I agree. There is so much I learned that I didn’t know before. Sheriff Bailey said that not being in the news is a good thing for the Sheriff’s Office. I understand what he was saying. You only hear about a deputy of any sheriff’s office when an officer has been attacked, wounded, or killed. The other time is when a deputy has done something unprofessional or illegal. Neither scenario is good news.
Which is a good lead-in for my next point. The media seldom reports “good news.” That is why you don’t hear about the many unsung heroes in the Sheriff’s Office that devote their time and energy to serving the community. The time I spent getting to know the personnel of the Sheriff’s Office, I found they all have three things in common: commitment to their job, pride in their work, and a caring attitude. I plan to profile some of these outstanding individuals in future posts.
I guess what impressed me the most about the Sheriff’s Office was the work release program, the vocational rehabilitation opportunities available, and counseling. Many of the inmates can turn their lives around with the right attitude, the education and tools to find work, and counseling to make them responsible taxpaying citizens instead of a tax burden on the community. Don’t get me wrong. I know some are beyond help. If some individuals are released, they will continue to commit crime. We need a court system that keeps them locked up. I hate it when some scumbag gets out on a technicality, and I bet you feel the same way.
I highly recommend for any citizen of Mecklenburg County to go through the Academy and learn more about the operation of the Sheriff’s Office. You will be amazed, and impressed, as I was.
There’s one thing I don’t understand. They forgot to give me a gun and a badge. Or maybe they didn’t forget, they just knew better. 😉