Lauds Citizen’s Academy

To the editor:

I have had the opportunity that I would wish on every citizen in Fort Dodge.

Recently, I completed an eight-week program called the Fort Dodge/Webster County Citizen’s Academy. The program is offered twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.

Instead of assuming what the daily activities of the Fort Dodge Police Department are and other county and public services, I found out firsthand through presentations on Crime Stoppers, Neighborhood Watch, juvenile courts staff, school resource officer, the Department of Criminal Investigations, Sheriff’s Department, Iowa State Patrol, Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Abuse Services, Drug Task Force, County Attorney Coleman and Judge Bice. There was so much information contained in the eight weeks, little did I know that our community even has a task force on Internet crime. I learned so many things about services that I knew were there, just did not have any idea about the inner-workings.

In each session, we were afforded the opportunity to ask questions, any questions. One huge benefit of this program is getting to know all of the individuals who work these public service jobs daily. It was a great experience and I want to thank each and every one that participated by attending and those who prepared and executed the presentations. I have much more appreciation and understanding of what these heroes do on a day-to-day basis. As this past fall session began, Rockwell City Officer Jamie Buenting was killed, the raw emotion spilled over into the class as a few officers talked about the incident. It was then I realized that there is truly a fellowship among officers and that these officers truly care about each other and the communities for which they serve. I will never forget the witness impact presentation by the mother of Holly Michaels and the gratitude she holds for the officers and different departments that were at her side during the most difficult time in one’s life. She is the strongest woman I got the pleasure of meeting. I strongly recommend this program, as it continues to educate the citizens of Fort Dodge, so a better understanding can be obtained by all.

Cindy Sturtz

Fort Dodge