Election Day 2017 coincided with Signature Class 33’s second program day focused on criminal justice and public safety. The day began with an open meet and greet with those protecting our community, along with their repertoire of vehicles and equipment, at the Police and Fire Training Center. After a short introduction about the facility, it was announced that class demonstrations were ready. We proceeded out of the training center, up a flight of stairs, and out onto a catwalk overlooking the Strategic Response Team (SRT) and K9 training facility. The class watched as the SRT team demonstrated how they enter a house or building. As the barking began and a K9 officer put on the ‘bite suit’, the excitement commenced as the K9 team demonstrated how to use a K9 to get a person (or a chair…) out of a house.
After a short break, the class was led out into the hallway to a room of the training facility. As the class squeezed into the small space, someone yelled “fire” and pulled the fire alarm as everyone looked for exits to escape from. Once back in the learning center, the class heard about tragic overcrowding catastrophes and ‘cop in a box’ to estimate occupancy maximums. It is safe to say that no one from the class would now enter a packed room without knowing where secondary exits and windows are located. Lastly, before our lunch break, the team learned the importance of compression-only CPR, discovered how to use an automated defibrillator device, and reviewed adequate pressure for proper CPR.
After lunch, the class departed for the Greene County jail, not only to get an introduction and learn about the challenges facing the system, but also to receive a behind-the-scenes tour. Stops included the intake area, the pit, Block A (maximum-security area and 23 hour a day lock down), and Block B (where inmates are allowed more privileges and time outside their cells). Again, it is safe to say for most of our classmates, this was an eye-opening experience and no one wants to take up residency here any time soon. The last stop for the day was just across the street at the Office of Emergency Management, which also houses the 911 Call Center.
Throughout the day, we heard from many influential community leaders, including, Police Chief Paul Williams, Fire Chief David Pennington, Executive Director Brandi Bartel (The Victim Center), and Direction of Development Esther Munch (Harmony House) in addition to other various members of public service. The day concluded with a reminder of the importance of voting, reiterating that each of us play a role in this process and have a responsibility in the community.
Until next time… Signature Class Program day three: Civic Awareness – shoot for the stars and land on the moon.