The DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department is again offering citizens the ability to learn about the department’s daily operations through its annual Citizens Law Enforcement Academy.
Dep. Jerald Wheeler said the Citizens Academy is in its fifth year with the Sheriff’s Department and Wheeler said he enjoys showing people what the department does.
“It’s a big level of show and tell,” Wheeler said. “We actually show and tell what we do and it’s always one of my highlights to be able to do the show and tell the insight of what we do.”
Beginning Feb. 22 and continuing weekly, participants will learn more about the workings of county law enforcement and the justice court system. Typically, about half of the time, those who take part will be in the Sheriff’s Department. The remainder of the time will be in situations around Search and Rescue, the range, aviation, and other areas of the Sheriff’s Department.
“We can teach them about us and they can learn about us in a way that normally you couldn’t find in a book or from first-hand experience of people talking about it,” Wheeler said. “You actually get to experience it, the things we do on a daily basis and the people we work with on a daily basis.”
“We have an average of 20 people take part, sometimes more, some a little less.” Wheeler said. “If you live in DeSoto County and you want to see what happens in our community, you can get out there and see who serves and protects us and what they do on a daily basis.”
The Academy serves to further its community policing philosophy. Among the areas that are covered are: Communications, Internal Affairs, Investigations. Justice System, Juvenile Law, K-9 Program, Motors, Narcotics, Officer Safety, Patrol Operations, Records, SWAT, Traffic, and Training. Certified and non-certified members of the department will instruct their part of the academy.
There will also be opportunities for ride-alongs with deputies and sit-alongs with dispatchers.
To apply to be a part of the Citizens Academy, applications are available at the front desk of the Sheriff’s Department, 3091 Industrial Dr. West, Hernando. Applications are also available online or by email request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Wheeler’s phone number is 662-469-8027 if you have any questions. With the class starting Feb. 22, it’s asked that applications be returned by Feb. 15 to allow for class preparation and administrative work.