Citizens Academy holds final class before Thursday’s graduation

Imari Scarbrough

April 8, 2014

The Anson Sheriff’s Citizens Academy met last Thursday for its final class session before graduation.

A representative with the Department of Homeland Security began, providing an overview of the history and functions of the department, including its protection from/response to terrorist attacks, man-made accidents and natural disasters.

The representative listed a variety of crimes DHS may work on investigating, including sex trafficking, counterfeiting merchandise, drug smuggling, cyber crime, artifact theft, weapons smuggling, gang activity, bulk cash smuggling and more.

An agent from the Secret Service also spoke to the class. Currently working in the Charlotte office, he served in former President George W. Bush’s detail and taught the class about the history and roles of the Secret Service. He explained that the Secret Service does both investigative and protective work. The department was originally formed to protect the country’s money supply from counterfeit copies that were rampant after the Civil War.

Following the assassination of three presidents (Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley and James Garfield) the Service took over protection of the presidents. Service agents protect not only presidents but their families, visiting officials, the vice president and others deemed to need protection.

Today, the Service still fulfills both roles. He displayed copies of counterfeit bills that he passed around to the class. The counterfeits were produced both overseas and domestically and varied in quality. Moving on from counterfeiting, the agent discussed the role agents have in both field offices and while serving in presidential security details.

After hearing from the speakers, Allen played several videos, ranging from humorous to serious. Amusing videos included a video on the right to bear arms made by Tiger Valley Training while the serious ones included one showing officer bravery in the line of fire.

One short but poignant video honored those who have died while in the service of Anson County’s sheriff’s department. The presentation included both historical members and more recent deaths, who died from everything from car wrecks while responding to a call to heart attacks. The video was followed by a moment of silence to reflect on their dedication to serving the county. “I think this is an appropriate way to end our Citizen’s Academy,” Allen said after the video.

The class will meet one more time for graduation next Thursday at the Sheriff’s Department at 7 p.m.