By Randy Pierce
FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS – With some of them returning to participate after having enjoyed it once or more previously while others experienced it for the first time, 33 local area older residents graduated from the 2019 Fairview Heights Police Department Senior Academy on Thursday, October 24.
This was the first year that Patrol Officer Alicia Compton served as coordinator of the annual program, having taken over those duties previously handled by Jeff Hinson who has become a local school resource officer this year.
This year’s 27th annual Fairview Heights Police Department Senior Academy grads included Michael Ausdemore, Susan Bailey, Wayne Bailey, Beverly Ballard, Don Barkley, Lenore Bechtoldt, Roselle Derfer, Dennis Dillard, Frankie Edmonds, Jane Francis, Gayle Frisse, James Garrett, Bette Givens, Jane Goodreau, Al Grudzinski, Sandra Grudzinski, Sherry Hackbarth, Carol Haslett, Christine Jones, Paulette Keilman, Betty Mester, Birgit Morgan, Richard Morgan, Barb Niebruegge, Frank Niebruegge, Jeanie Price, Lusiele Randolph, Victoria Sartory, Renate Schoenebeck, Monda Sergerson, Dorothy Sudduth, Gloria Smith and Joann Winans.
Six consecutive Thursday afternoon program sessions made up this year’s senior academy, featuring special guests sharing information on a variety of appropriate topics focusing on public safety and law enforcement beginning on September 19. The weekly sessions were held at the police department headquarters at 10027 Bunkum Road in Fairview Heights.
Each week, information was presented at 1 p.m. then there was a snack break followed by a second session with the afternoon’s program(s) concluding before or at 3:30 p.m.
The senior academy is just one of several similar programs offered by the local police department as part of its community outreach efforts, the other ones targeting youth and citizens at large along with numerous training sessions concerning subjects such as working with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration to collect unneeded prescription medications, self-defense for women and “Stop The Bleed.”
The information presented at the senior academy varied in content but was always intended for the purpose of enhancing the lives of older persons in the community and/or providing insight into the daily lives of police officers and the agencies that work to keep our communities safe.
The topics covered included identity theft, the Metropolitan Enforcement Group of Southwestern Illinois, driving under the influence, strategical weapons and tactics teams, the city’s crime free housing regulations, crime scene investigation, emergency dispatching, rape aggression defense training, a canine demonstration and fire safety.
Participating scheduled speakers presenting information concerning the above topics included fraud and cybercrime investigator Suzanne Phegley, Michelle Foster, Cody Wiley, Grant Hentze from the Illinois State Police and current or former Fairview Heights officers Zach Adrian, Bill Newgent, Travis Montgomery, Greg Hosp and Sergeant Tony Flinn.
Those from the police department participating in the graduation program, which also consisted of a luncheon prior to the presentation of certificates, along with Compton were Chief Chris Locke and Lieutenant James Krummrich and executive assistant Amber Hopkins.