Citizens begin crash course in policework
MPD’s Citizens Police Academy enters second year
By Logan Watson
The Milan Police Department welcomed 17 of their newest recruits into the fold last Thursday night. The group, made up of concerned citizens and community leaders, won’t be pulling you over anytime soon, but they will have a better understanding of what goes on behind the cool, calculating eyes of the boys and girls in blue.
The cadets first class covered the structure of the Milan Police Department, then discussions quickly turned to a perpetual hot topic regarding police, the use of force.
Milan Police Chief Bobby Sellers discussed how his officers are trained to respond to potential threats quickly and the types of force that correlate to particular situations, and discussed the now-infamous incident in Ferguson, Missouri, that brought use of deadly force to the forefront of the national consciousness.
“We’re human beings,” said Chief Sellers. “Sometimes we make mistakes, but that officer has to decide in a millisecond whether to pull this gun or risk not coming home.” The grave tone of the discussion quickly shifted, however, when Chief Sellers demonstrated the use of the Taser, but no cadets were willing to “take one for the team”.
“This is a really good group of professional people,” Chief Sellers said of this year’s class. “They seem really interested in giving back and helping their community. I’m excited to have this group.”
Many of the cadets were excited to share what they had learned with their community.
“I’m hoping to take what I learn here back to my church community in Humboldt,” said Pastor and elementary school teacher Anthony Ballard, Sr. “I want to explain these things to them and give them a better understanding of why the police do what they do.”
“When I first heard about this opportunity, I thought it was the greatest thing,” said John Fumia. “I joined out of sheer curiosity. I wanted to see inside and learn how things worked and see the way the police interacted with the community.”
“As someone who is involved in the community, I wanted to be able to help inform others of the benefits the police department offers the citizens,” said Economic and Community Development Director Allyson Wadley.