MCSO part-time academy graduates ready to protect and serve

The eighteen-week course tested cadets, pushing them to their limits and beyond

MONROE COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) –  For the final month, cadets in Class Four spent time in the classroom learning about street drugs and gangs.

We also qualified on the driving course.

We experienced OC spray, also known as pepper spray, firsthand.

It is hard to describe how it feels.

“OC spray is terrible, no good way to define it, it is a life-changing experience, think everyone should do it, at least once,” said Officer Ryan Taylor, with the Fulton Police Department.

“Like you’re on the beach and someone throws sand in your eyes as hard as they can, that’s what it feels like to me, sandpaper in your eyes,” said Deputy Mason Stevens, with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

No one in Class Four panicked after taking the spray, in what we saw as an extreme team-building exercise.

PT was a regular part of the academy, and all cadets passed their PT tests.

Our final week was filled with written tests and graduation Day.

Class Four cadets, who are now officers, credit instructors at the academy, along with Sheriff Kevin Crook, for pushing them to reach deep inside and keep pushing through the pain and hardships.

“I think, hands down, even without having gone to an academy before, the impression I got, from day one was instructors, curriculum was a class act, for being a teacher myself I can recognize excellence all teachers here display,” said Officer Jason Baker, with the Starkville Police Department.

Other class members are looking forward to using what they have learned in their full-time jobs.

“I will stay at the work center, may patrol some if needed, will go at a moment’s notice, further my career, and help people,” said Deputy Ben Graham, with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

“It is a good thing all the way around, community service is always a big deal, this is another aspect to that,” said Officer Troy Peck, who is with the City of Tupelo.

Two members of Class 4 say they consider going to a full-time academy, and full-time police work, after working hard and passing the part-time school, all the while being motivated by the instructors.

“You can do more than what you think, they put you under a lot of stress, push it and keep going until you don’t have anything else to give, that’s what it takes to work in law enforcement,” said Deputy Stevens.

“Definitely look at Monroe County, due to effort they put in training, time, thought process, equipment is where it needs to everything is on a higher level where it needs to be I believe,” said Officer Taylor.

Sheriff Kevin Crook and Academy Director Captain John Bishop say all members of Class Four put in the work and have demonstrated the character, compassion, and courage it takes to protect and serve.

“If you can lead with love, the rest of it will work itself out. If you care about the people you serve, the county you live in, everything will fall into place, and you will be that deputy others need you to be,” said Sheriff Crook.

“What I like about training, whether part or full time, you have the opportunity to give them something they might not have had before and will help them be successful in their career,’ said Capt. Bishop.

Now that Class Four of the MCSO part-time academy has graduated, the real work begins. We all will be working with different agencies, on a part-time basis, putting into practice what we have learned over the past eighteen weeks.

The next part-time academy starts in January.  For more information, call 662 369 2468.

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