By Annette Dashofy
After fifteen weeks of Citizens’ Police Academy, it’s over. We graduated this week and are now Citizens’ Police Academy alumni.
The ceremony was quite nice. Not the pomp and circumstance of some graduations, which is a good thing. We were allowed to bring guests, so my hubby tagged along. (He heard there would be food). Others brought spouses, significant others, children, or siblings. Some of us wore our “official” CPA shirts, others dressed up a bit.
The ceremony opened with speeches from several of the police bureau’s finest, including Chief Nate Harper.
Our class had a plaque made and we presented it to the chief.
Then, we received our certificates of completion, suitable for framing.
All that was left was to dig into the food and socialize one last time.
None of us wanted to think about that last part. When the next class begins in September, we have an opportunity to take those weeks we missed, so we were comparing which weeks we might encounter one another again during a make-up. Heck, I think I may just drop in on occasion to ask some questions that I didn’t think of until AFTER a class.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Citizens’ Academy ESPECIALLY Lieutenant Jennifer Beidle who has put together an incredible curriculum. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it one more time…if you have a chance to participate in a CPA, grab it.
On the way home, my hubby expressed amazement at the sincere interest the chief showed in our class. I reminded him of what Chief Harper had said in his speech. The police department doesn’t have money to buy advertising. That’s what we are. He wants us to go out into the community and drum up support for the officers who work such a dangerous job every day and who must make life altering decisions in a split second. What you see on TV, be it crime fiction or on the news, is NOT the whole story. We’ve been given the opportunity to see what they face, maybe not from the inside, but from a front row seat. We now have a better idea of the things they face and the obstacles they must endure.
It has been fun. And it has been eye-opening educational. I think I will be a better writer for the experience. I know I’ll be a better citizen.
I’ll also miss the classes, my classmates, and Lieutenant Beidle.
But as Chief Harper pointed out, we still have our ride-alongs to do, so it isn’t over yet!
(Working Stiffs' CPA Graduates Annette and Gina flanking Lieutenant Jennifer Beidle)