May 15 was our first of eleven sessions of Citizens' Academy at the IRC Sheriff's Office, facilitated by Sgt. Eric Flowers. Sheriff Deryl Loar gave us a brief orientation, then we got right into it.
Day 1's topics were 911 Dispatch, presented by Sandy Fox, and we learned from Deputies Brian Aguiar and Teddy Floyd about what it is like day in and out for a deputy. I couldn't help seeing many similarities between what law enforcement and fire rescue experience each day.
"When we get up in the morning, we never know how our day is going to go and what is going to happen," Deputy Aguiar explained. "It may be a relatively quiet day, or we may have a bad car crash with fatalities, have to respond to a suicide, or face someone with a weapon."
Deputy Aguiar is also a sniper for the S.W.A.T team. He described that while this is their calling, they are also human beings and some of the things they see can affect them. IRCSO of course has an extensive Employee Assistance Program for anyone seeking some counseling and support. The main message I took from his talk is that 1) they are here to HELP us (even when they give us a speeding ticket - it is to correct bad behavior that could cost you your life one day); 2) Law Enforcement members are ORDINARY people doing extraordinary jobs (although I slightly disagree- I think they are very special people to do what they!); 3) We citizens are their eyes and ear and we need to not be afraid of retribution by a criminal and instead share all that we know about an incident, because this is how most crimes are solved; and 4) law enforcement works as a team and everyone does their part.
It was a thrill for me to stand in the 911 Dispatch center, after hearing them so many times when they would speak on the overhead speaker at the IRC Fire Stations while I was doing the Fire Rescue book! (In the book I describe them as the Voice in the Sky).
Deputy Teddy Floyd said, "After 23 years, I still cannot wait to go to work every day and serve the community!" Deputy Floyd went on to describe the many ways they work with local agencies to help people they come across (homeless, drug addicts, domestic violence, etc.).
Next week we will be at the Helicopter Hangar and meet the K-9 Dogs! I can't wait to get those photos!
Listen to Eric Flowers and Thom Raulen talk with me live about Day 1 on their C.O.P.S. Radio Show Monday May 19 from 10:30 am til 12 noon on 107.9 FM, 1370 AM, and I-Heart radio WAXE. You can listen FREE after that date on I-Tunes Podcast. Search for Eric Flowers C.O.P.S.
To learn why Brian Aguiar is so successful, see how he relates to these young skateboarders (he did not know they had their camera going and that they would later call him COOLEST COP EVER!):
I am an official, fully vetted volunteer with the Indian River County Sheriff's Office (Citizen's Academy, background checks, fingerprinted, etc.). Since my expertise is photo-journalism, producing these stories is one way I give back to my community.
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