20 Alexandrians Gave Up Four Saturdays to Graduate from First Sheriff’s Community Academy Class

Members of the inaugural class of the Sheriff’s Community Academy celebrated their graduation on October 6. Courtesy photo

In September, the Sheriff’s Office hosted the inaugural class of the Sheriff’s Community Academy giving Alexandrians the opportunity to learn about the Office’s role in the local criminal justice system.

Beginning on September 8, 20 participants spent their Saturday mornings exploring Sheriff’s Office operations, engaging with staff, taking part in demonstrations, and touring the Adult Detention Center and Alexandria Courthouse. After four sessions, the Community Academy members celebrated their graduation on October 6 where Sheriff Dana Lawhorne and Community Academy coordinator Sergeant Sean Casey presented each with a certificate of achievement and a Sheriff’s Office challenge coin.

During the Community Academy, participants learned about jail operations, court security, transportation of inmates, civil process, inmate classification and services, facility support, equipment, and training. Staff gave presentations and gave demonstrations and Community Academy members were encouraged to ask questions and participate in several hands-on activities, including pepperball gun training, trying on protective equipment, and operating Project Lifesaver tracking devices.

At the graduation, Sheriff Lawhorne and Sergeant Casey thanked the class for investing their time to learn about the Office and for their keen interest and excellent questions throughout the program. Then the class members shared their thoughts and offered highly positive feedback, with many impressed by the professionalism and humanity of the agency and the transparency and access they encountered. More than one remarked that the jail was not what they expected and very different from what they typically see on television.

The inaugural class members are William Berridge, Anne Bradford, Jacqueline Bridges, Craig Bucher, Rosa Byrd, Charlene Campbell, Susan Coit, Shenise Foster, James Grenall, Arnela Hadzisulejmanovic, George Harrison, Stephen Johnson, Dexter Keyes, Sharon Negash, Ellen Nelson, Martha Payne, Colleen Stover, Timothy Walker, Steven Weachter, and Michael Wolfson.

The next Sheriff’s Community Academy class will be held early next year. Those who are interested can contact Sergeant Casey at 703.746.5116 or check out the City’s Academy website.