BY MELANIE BUCK –
After attending 133 hours of instruction for three nights a week for six weeks, the next generation of Reserve Police Officers graduated in Mena on Tuesday, May 30, amongst their peers. Eleven officers received certificates of completion and will use their skills in the workforce in Mena, Grannis, and Montgomery County.
Mena Police Chief Brandon Martin said to the graduates that becoming a police officer is “a service to the community and to the people. We are proud of you.” Of the graduates, seven have been assigned to the Mena Police Department – Paul Kaelin, Daisy Shelton, Kelly Surber, Dalton Myers, Angelo Cueva, Wane Sharp, and Josh Butterworth; three to Grannis Police Department – Justin Jenkins, Danny Baker, and Layton Mohr; and one, Stephen Chaffin, to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. Each student was sponsored by their corresponding agency.
The students finished the class with an overall class average of 94.6%. Subjects taught included Arkansas law, domestic violence, accident investigation, DWI and drug enforcement, defensive tactics, how to testify in court, first aid, Haz-Mat, pistol and shotgun drills and qualification, OC (pepper) spray exposure, and much more.
Reserve Officers assist departments in a variety of duties including covering special events for schools, parades, car shows, festivals, prisoner transports, and working with full-time officers to patrol the city.
Awards were given for the top performers in two categories: Top Shooter and Academics. The Top Shooter Award was given to Paul Kaelin for his Pistol Qualification scores; Daisy Shelton came in second. The Academic Award was given to Josh Butterworth, who had a 99.2% average, with Danny Baker coming in second.
Norm Gray, investigator for Mena PD, congratulated the group before presenting their diplomas. “You are about to become part of a brotherhood. It’s a privilege to be a part of it.” Martin’s words of wisdom to the students was, “If it doesn’t feel right, it’s wrong. Back out, regroup, and go back at it.” He added, “You will learn something new everyday. I’ve been here for 19 years and still learn something new everyday. You will too.”