Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Gary and the Citizens Police Academy

It is no secret that Gary is an avid law enforcement supporter.  Gary’s favorite shows include CHiPs and The Andy Griffith Show.  When asked last fall if he wanted to join the Owensboro Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy, no one was surprised when Gary excitedly said yes! This twelve-week program educates citizens about the many responsibilities of the police department. Along with thirty-nine other community members, Gary learned about the Traffic Unit, the Emergency Response Team, Dispatch, Narcotics Unit, and Hazardous Devices Unit.  Always seated in the front row, Gary listened intently to the officers’ stories of their police experiences. 

Gary graduated from the Academy on November 7, and immediately joined its Alumni Association, a volunteer group that encourages continuing citizen support of the officers’ work within the community. He attends their monthly meetings, and helps with various fundraising events, such as grilling burgers in front of Wal-Mart. Gary even participated in the Run from the Cops 5K race this spring.
Part of the Citizen’s Police Academy (CPA) included a police ride-a-long with Officer Michael Hathaway.  It was a slow night, and evidently, there were too many law-abiding citizens, because no one was breaking the speed limit or running stoplights!  As cars drove by, Gary kept asking, “What about that one?”  They finally spotted a woman who had expired tags and make the stop.  Gary was thrilled.

As a CPA alumnus, Gary continues doing ride-a-longs with Officer Hathaway every few months.  Wendell Foster’s staff member Steven Carraway joined Gary on a ride one night.  "Officer Hathaway knows what Gary enjoys most - traffic stops. They park and watch for drivers who are not wearing their seat belts or have expired tags.  According to Carraway, "In two hours, we made five traffic stops for minor violations. Gary felt he'd done his duty that evening."
More importantly, Gary feels he is an active member of his community.  "While walking in the Color Blast 5K run in March, several police officers staffing road blocks recognized Gary and called out to say hello to him." Carraway added, "All the cops know Gary, and he loves that they recognize him when he's out and about in Owensboro."

Wendell Foster’s Campus knows supporting the men in blue is important to Gary.  According to Officer Hathaway, “Gary’s level of enthusiasm for what we do for our community is outstanding.  It’s refreshing to see his eagerness to do his part to help and support us in doing our jobs.”  Supporting Gary’s enthusiasm for what OPD does for our community is what we do at Wendell Foster’s Campus.

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