, Salem, MA

January 4, 2013

Letter: Citizens' academy a wonderful experience

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

I would like the community to know how grateful I am to Chief Russell Stevens for originating the Hamilton Citizens Police Academy, which recently graduated a second class of 20, including yours truly.

We learned everything we could possibly want to know about the operation of the Hamilton Police Department. More importantly, we learned about the department’s dedication to its citizens in all aspects, including the donation of 30 volunteer hours to this end. No doubt, Sgt. Stephen Walsh, who is in charge of the academy, contributed many more hours than that.

Besides the chief and Sgt. Walsh, I would like to thank Lt. Scott Janes; officers Joe Achadinha, Brian Shaw, Michael Girolimon, Kent Richards, Michael Wetson and Andrew Neill; and Sgts. Stephen Trepanier and Karen Wallace.

Additionally, thank you to Assistant District Attorney Jane Prince, who spoke on court procedures; Anne-Marie Cullen of the ECO Communication Center; and fire Chief Phil Stevens, as well as Deputy fire Chief Kirby Brand.

As noted above, all aspects of police duties in Hamilton, from its history to booking-room procedures through investigations, evidence collection, court procedures, introduction to law, traffic procedures and investigations were covered. We were given a thorough tour of the Police Department, the ECO Communication Center and the Fire Department (a class for this will be offered in the future).

We learned how to dust for fingerprints, and two state troopers brought in a German shepherd for a K-9 demonstration. The use of radar was demonstrated. Driving impairment was simulated via special glasses. We were given a tour of Middleton Jail, an actual tour of duty (dressed in the appropriate protection) with a patrol officer, and an hour and a half in the Milo Center. All of this was topped off by a graduation ceremony to which it was obvious much thought and preparation had been given.

The opinions I heard from my fellow participants were unanimously positive and grateful for the chance to participate. When newspapers next publish an invitation to join the third class, I urge residents to sign up for a wonderful opportunity to learn about the inner workings of the excellent community asset that is our Hamilton Police Department.

Johanna Donovan