Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

November 20, 2012

Group of special recruits wraps scene with Police Academy graduation

ASHLAND — The Ashland Police Department graduated more than a dozen special recruits on Monday night from its Citizens Police Academy.

The seven-week course gave participants a behind-the-scenes, hands-on look at how the department responds, investigates, solves crimes and works with the legal system to prosecute them. Community members that successfully completed the course earned no policing powers but walked away with a greater understanding and appreciation of Ashland’s finest and how they “protect and serve” the city’s residents each day.

“It was a fantastic experience,” said graduate Kathy Howard. “Everybody needs to try it.”  

Fellow graduate Nevada Ange echoed that sentiment. “I learned so much,” she said. “I think everybody needs to do it, just to make the community better.”

The Citizens Academy was offered for several years in the late 90s before going on hiatus in 1998. It was significantly retooled with an emphasis on interaction and highlighting the new technology, training and laws the agency uses.

 APD Chief Rob Ratliff said the academy was brought back to showcase how officers do their jobs with the ultimate goal of fostering understanding and building relationships with community leaders.

Participants learned all of this by doing, working a fictional case from beginning to end in order to experience the entire process. Along the way they interacted with all the various departments within the agency as well as the judges and prosecutors that also work with officers.

“We felt it was important for people to look at it from a different perspective — what a police officer does daily,” said Ratliff. “I don’t think people realize what we do, what we have to do to prepare, the obstacles we have to overcome. They need to know the things we do, how we do it, and why we do it the way we do.”

That’s exactly what Ange found out.

“It is such a long process,” she said. “I don’t think that I thought that. I don’t think I had any idea of what it really entails, from getting that phone call, to that 30-second blurb of a message, and there they go into the line of fire, so to speak, to protect me, not knowing what they are getting ready to get into. Their life is on the line every single time. They are fearless.”

Howard, who attended the academy in the ‘90s, said this new curriculum was entirely different and eye-opening. “It was very interesting and very informative. You see aspects of their job that you don’t normally see,” she said.

For example, participants learned how and why police interview the way they do, how they gather and process evidence as well as the training and techniques they use to make an arrest.   

Participants also gained a better understanding of the personal side of policing from Ashland’s own officers.

“It’s not a job to them. It is their passion,” said Howard. “You find a new respect for them and their position.”

“It is crazy what they do every day, 24/7, not just while they are in the uniform. It takes a special one-of-a-kind person to be a police officer,” said Ange.  “It definitely changed my opinion. It's less intimidating now that I have met them. They are not just this figure of a police officer, they are real guys genuinely trying to protect me and my family. I think I could absolutely call them at anytime and be comfortable.”

Howard said the experience also taught her ways to better help the police department do its job.  As the manager of the 150-unit Hillcrest Apartments, she often interacts with the APD on various issues. “I can get information prior to them getting here that would help them better solve the issue or know where to go with it,” she said, giving an example.

That’s just what police were hoping the outcome would be.

Maj. Todd Kelley said the academy has already proven helpful as a focus group of sorts in that it has generated ideas and recommendations on ways the APD can improve how it does business.

“It’s been good for us,” agreed Sgt. Ryan Conley. “We have really enjoyed the positive interaction. It gives officers an opportunity to explain what is going through their minds and get feedback.”

Ratliff said the APD will continue the program, most likely next fall. “Based on feedback we’ve gotten it’s gone great,” he said.

“I can only imagine where it’s going to go from here,” added Kelley.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.

Text Only
Local News
  • Golden Corral sends children to camp

    Ashland’s Golden Corral teamed with other restaurants across nation this year to raise $1.5 million to send a total of 3,000 children to Camp Corral.

    July 24, 2014

  • Burglars steal golf gear

    A couple of golf enthusiasts might not make their tee times Saturday because burglars stole golf equipment from their garages.

    July 24, 2014

  • Music instructor claims age discrimination

    The Russell Independent School District is denying allegations of a former band director who claims in a lawsuit the district discriminated against him because of his age.

    July 24, 2014

  • Financial blunder leads to heated board discussion

    In a surprising turn of events, City Manager Ben Bitter’s supervision authority was challenged by the Board of Commissioners after Commissioner Cheryl Spriggs filed a motion to have legal and finance department heads also report to the board in light of a financial blunder by Bitter.
    Ashland Mayor Chuck Charles and City Attorney Richard “Sonny” Martin confirmed a new ordinance will be drafted so the department heads of finance and legal counsel will be checked by the board, in addition to Bitter’s current oversight.

    July 24, 2014

  • Stricter enforcement, diagonal spots endorsed to help downtown

    A group of business owners operating along Winchester Avenue — Ashland’s main thoroughfare — asked the Ashland Board of Commissioners to replace current parallel parking spots with diagonal ones, and also for more strick enforcement of a two-hour parking law.

    July 24, 2014

  • National act takes stage at Boyd County Fair

    The Building of Dreams erupted into screams Thursday night at the 2014 Boyd County Fair, as country music fans saw Bucky Covington take the stage.
    According to Ellen Keaton, fair board president, Covington was a favorite on season five of Fox’s talent competition series American Idol.

    July 24, 2014

  • Smoke-free advocates bound for Ashland

    Advocates for smoke-free public spaces are touring the state, starting in Ashland, to drum up support for anti-tobacco legislation they hope to pass next year.
    Smoke-Free Kentucky is a coalition of organizations and people who support a ban on smoking in all public and work places in Kentucky.

    July 24, 2014

  • Ohio State Band Direc_Mayn.jpg Ohio State marching band chief fired after probe

    Ohio State University fired the director of its celebrated marching band on Thursday after determining he ignored a "sexualized" culture of rituals including students being pressured to march in their underwear and participate in sexually themed stunts.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Grimes has pep rally before energetic Democrats

    Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes was preaching to the Democratic choir Thursday night at the Wendell Ford Dinner attended by about 700 here.

    July 24, 2014

  • Commissioners challenge city manager’s authority

    In a surprising turn of events, City Manager Ben Bitter’s supervision authority was challenged by the Board of Commissioners after Commissioner Cheryl Spriggs filed a motion to have legal and finance department heads also report to the board in light of a financial blunder by Bitter.

    July 24, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone