Week 6 of the Covington Police Department’s citizens academy started out as a rainy, dreary Saturday morning at the department’s gun range on Williams Road. It ended with a bang — or, rather, several bangs.
After a morning gun safety class from CPD’s range master Officer Anthony Walden, the group was ready for some range time. Several in the group had never fired a weapon before.
Lt. Wendell Wagstaff, Lt. Mike Tinsley, Lt. Mark Jones, Officer Allan Seebaran and Officer Walden stood by on the firing line patiently offering instruction and encouragement as we took our turns firing some of the weapons CPD uses, including the department’s standard sidearm, the Glock 17, as well as the M-16 rifle, a shotgun, a .38-caliber revolver and a smaller Glock whose number escapes me right now.
The highlight of the day for me, and for most of the group, I think, was the opportunity to go full auto for a three-round burst from the M-16. Along with having a Taser turned on me, the full auto experience will stand as a highlight of the last six weeks.
And a fast six weeks it has been. Over the course of the academy we’ve had the chance to learn about how CPD goes about investigating crimes and keeping the city’s residents safe. We had the chance to learn about evidence and why the evidence chain is important in criminal prosecutions.
We got to experience the Firearms Training Systems, or FATS, simulator officers train on to prepare them for shoot/don’t shoot scenarios. As fast as situations devolved in a controlled, video game environment, I can’t imagine how fast they happen in real life-and-death situations.
And we had a chance to ride along with some of Covington’s finest. The ridealong was always the topic of conversation by group members at our next session.
Mostly, we had the opportunity to get to know some of the cops who work daily to protect the city of Covington. The CPA’s motto is “Educating the public and building lasting relationships.” Session 8 of the CPD citizens’ academy did just that. We had the opportunity to meet, talk with and learn about and from some of the finest officers wearing a badge today.
I’m not blowing smoke or trying to get out of a ticket. The City of Covington truly has an outstanding, professional police department. And I’ve seen a few.
Its officers seem to genuinely care about their jobs and about the people they serve and protect. It was a pleasure to spend some time with them.
When I wrote about the Porterdale citizens’ academy a year ago, I started my first story something like this: With much appreciation and gratitude for the service and sacrifice made by our military, the people who protect our way of life pin on badges, strap on Glocks and climb into cars with blue lights on top for a living are heroes. If you take away our system of jurisprudence and the people we trust to enforce it, we will have anarchy. Cops are the reason we can sleep soundly at night.
Novelist and screenwriter Raymond Chandler put it best many years ago when he wrote, “down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man.”
Hopefully, I’ve been able to share a little about what I’ve learned over the last six weeks and hopefully we’ve had a chance to gain a little more understanding about the people who protect us.