Police chief challenges community to get involved in academy

13 join CPA ranks in second year of class


ABOVE: Bellefontaine Police Chief Brandon Standley, right, and Lt. Rick Herring congratulate Citizens’ Police Academy graduate Ray Swisher during the Thursday evening graduation ceremony at Café 212. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: A cake with the Bellefontaine Police logo sits on a table as graduates of the Citizens Police Academy, police officers and family members dine during the Thursday evening graduation ceremony at Café 212. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | REUBEN MEES)

In its first year, the Bellefontaine Police Department’s Citizen’s Police Academy graduated a minister, a school transportation official and an economic development official among its ranks of concerned citizens and business leaders.

This year they added an educator, a member of the media and, most notably, a city councilman.

“For me personally, one of the most important things I learned is in our community when an officer responds to a situation how something that seems simple can escalate,” Councilman At-Large Jim Sanford said Thursday evening after the graduation ceremony at Café 212.

“There is no such thing as a routine stop in our community, with the drugs that are here. It’s an eye-opener how dangerous their job is. They are putting their lives on the line every day.

“It has allowed me to see what needs they have that aren’t being met and how important it is to meet their budget needs,” Mr. Sanford said. “It’s important to know that they have the resources they need instead of asking them to do their job on a shoestring budget.”

Police Chief Brandon Standley, in his address to the 13 graduates, called on more members of city council, as well as citizens and business leaders, to step forward and be part of the 13-week course.

Graduates of the Bellefontaine Police Department’s Citizens’ Police Academy Class of 2014:

Kenneth Adkins, Michael Brunner, Scott Davis, Nathan Dunham, Tammy Fowler, Melody Fullerton, Bruce Gates, Ben Joseph, James Sanford, Teresa Schneider, Melanie Sousa, Raymond Swisher, Edward Wallace

“Councilman Jim,” the police chief said, “I am glad you chose to participate; I wish it was required.

“In a snapshot at city council meetings, I am supposed to educate them on what we do. They’re busy and I’m busy, but most of them don’t know what we do.”

He also pointed out Ward 2 Councilwoman Diane Hager, whose husband Roger is a police officer, was in attendance at the small ceremony that only included police officers, graduates and family members.

But he cautioned against cutting funding to safety services.

“The first thing cut in someone’s budget is safety forces,” the chief said before telling a story of how he and Lt. Rick Herring were called upon earlier this week to arrest an intoxicated woman and transport her to jail, while the officers on duty juggled more work than they could handle.

“It may be the last time ever that the lieutenant makes the arrest and the police chief makes the transport to jail,” he joked.

“In this community our budget is just over $2 million. I guarantee you not one cent is wasted in this community, but we are still understaffed,” Chief Standley said.

He urged others to get involved and noted that applications for the next class, which begins in February, are available online at the police department’s website: www.ci.bellefontaine.oh.us/police.html.


Read complete story in Thursday's Examiner.
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