Brunswick Sheriff’s Citizens Academy — Week Two

citizensacademyTuesday was my second week participating in the Brunswick Sheriff’s Citizens Academy.

Before I get into the things we covered Tuesday, I feel compelled to add one thing that I failed to include last week:  the Sheriff’s Office is not a department, it is an Office.  While the Board of County Commissioners on which I serve appropriates the Sheriff’s budget, the Sheriff reports to the voters, not the county manager.  “Department” is referred to as the “D Word” in the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office.

Now, on to this week’s session.

This week, we covered the Uniform Services division, which includes the Patrol Division, the Warrant Division and the Bailiff/Court Services Division, among others.  We discussed the structure of the division, the types of calls and situations they handle, the reports they must complete, when Deputies should and should not engage in a vehicle chase, the duties of Bailiffs, and the function and purpose of the Reserve Division.

We also watched an intense dash-cam video of a car chase involving a suspect who was clearly endangering the public.  In this case, Deputies were able to successfully apprehend the suspect.

Finally, we participated in two role-playing exercises.  In one exercise, we conducted a mock traffic stop based on a fictitious incident report.  A Sheriff’s Office volunteer posed as the driver, and class members were paired up in teams of two and played the roles of the Deputies.  Even though I clearly knew the volunteer had been sitting in our classroom the entire night, I still had a deer-in-the-headlights moment when I walked to his car door to question him.  By way of contrast, Deputies in real-life situations are walking into the unknown; when they conduct a traffic stop, they never know what awaits them.  This role-playing exercise reinforced my respect for those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect us.

Additionally, we observed a Deputy interviewing another volunteer posing as a victim in the same fictitious case on which mock traffic stop was based.  The Deputy asked a series of questions which helped her obtain the information from the alleged victim that was portrayed on the incident report.

So far, the Citizens Academy has been both educational and enjoyable.  I look forward to the next session.