UPDATE: Sheriff’s Citizen’s Academy is now full


UPDATE: Aug. 11: The fall session of the Sheriff's Citizen's Academy is now full. Those who wish to participate can apply again in the spring.

CULLMAN –  The Cullman County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) is now taking applications for the fall edition of its popular Citizen’s Academy. The academy is a nine-week course and is free to the public; however, there is a class limit of 50 participants.

According to CCSO Director of Communications Bradley Williams, this fall’s academy is already approximately half-filled.

The academy begins on Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. and will meet weekly on Tuesdays from 6-9 p.m., with the last class being on Nov. 1.

“Each week we have a different topic,” said Williams, “like crime scene investigation, the sex offender registry, self-defense, etc. to cover, and some weeks we will have an activity to do like a SWAT Team demonstration, jail tour, drug dog demonstration, ride-alongs or visiting the gun range, etc.”

Capt. Mark Persall goes into more detail. "We will have presentations on the criminal justice system and the courts, including classes taught by our judges, district attorney and federal agencies including the FBI, DEA, Secret Service and ATF.  We will have demonstrations on crime scene investigation, sex-offender registry and compliance and a tour of our courts and the Cullman County Detention Center and communications center," said Persall. "We will explain the Sheriff’s Office's responsibility to conduct secure elections.  Our investigators will cover the investigation process for violent crimes, property crimes, fraud, scams, credit card offenses, child abuse and animal cruelty. We will talk about illegal drugs and profile major cases prosecuted in north Alabama. The Joint Terrorism Task Force (FBI) will highlight terrorist ties to people in Alabama.  We will talk about our School Resource Deputies protecting our schools and their instruction of the D.A.R.E. program.  We will teach self-defense, personal protection, use of force and firearms instruction including a day of live-fire shooting.   We will also have demonstrations of SWAT techniques and building entries.  We will also highlight community projects like Neighborhood Watch, Telephone Senior Assurance Programs, Safety Plans for faith-based organizations, Active Shooter training and the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office Rodeo and Special Needs Children’s Rodeo."

Williams says that the CCSO is not able to take more than 50 participants due to the logistics of having everyone participate in all of the scheduled activities.

“Once we are full, we can’t take anyone else,” he said. “But you can still apply for the next one will we have, in the spring.”

This session will be the third so far.

Williams encourages the public to attend. “There are many benefits to the Citizen’s Academy, like letting the public get first-hand knowledge of their sheriff’s office, getting to know their law enforcement officers, self-defense training and firearm safety,” he said.

"Our purpose," said Persall, "is to let the people of Cullman County know that the sheriff’s office belongs to them.  The Alabama constitution sanctions that each county will elect a sheriff to administrate services for the district, circuit and probate courts, to maintain a county jail and to provide law enforcement services to their citizens. Sheriff Gentry wants participants to see our total operation and even ride with the deputies on patrol to see the challenges and dangers they face and understand how they protect their communities.

"We also want to teach the historical origins of the office of sheriff, which goes back to ninth-century England.  Civilization has recognized the office of sheriff to represent the people for over 1,100 years!" continued Persall.

The academy will take place at Cullman City Hall, with the exception of the first and last sessions on Sept. 6 and Nov. 1. Those meeting locations have not been determined yet, but will be communicated to participants when they are finalized.

To obtain an application, visit the CCSO at 1910 Beech Ave. SE or contact Persall at 256-734-0342 or mpersall@cullmansheriff.org.

For more information, see http://www.cullmansheriff.org/citizens-academy.php.


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