Mayor Rob Rappold stood alongside Beckley Police Officers to brief over 20 community members for what they are about to endure at the ninth annual Citizen’s Police Academy, since he is a 2016 graduate.
The academy is a program run by Capt. Chuck Ragland, who said he enjoys showing locals what his department is all about each year.
“It shows them that not everything happens in a 24 hour period like it does on TV,” Ragland said.
“That sometimes there’s a lot of work that goes along with our job.”
Over the course of 13 weeks, Ragland and other officers will meet with these volunteers on Thursday evenings, and touch base on just about everything the job entails, from actual ride alongs with officers, to a field trip at the Southern Regional Jail.
“We touch base with the drug units, the detective bureau and our cold case investigator comes in talks,” Ragland said. “This year we added polygraph tests, we’ll go to the crime lab at WVU Tech, and we go over highway safety.”
It is an inside look at the every day job that is protecting the Beckley community. For people like Charles Houck, who participated the very first year, this first hand experience has the ability to stay etched in these volunteers minds, and gives them a newfound support for police officers.
It is the reason houck said he comes to the introductory night each year to get folks excited.
“The challenges they have are so great,” Houck explained. “I became more knowledgable about the challenges in our community.”