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Reserve officers tackle class

Lincoln County native Patrick Brown, a new reserve sheriff’sdeputy, said four months ago, he thought his Reserve Trainingclasses would never be over.

“I thought we’d never get through this,” he said. “But now itfeels like, ‘Where did the time go?'”

Brown was one of seven graduates from five law enforcementagencies taking part in the graduation ceremony held at the JusticeCourt building Saturday morning. The new reserve officersrepresented the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department as well as thedepartments of Lawrence and Walthall counties and the Wesson andSummit police departments.

“This was a good class,” said Lincoln County Sheriff SteveRushing, whose department hosts the class every year. “They’vecompleted over 200 hours of training with several differentinstructors, and they’ve really proven themselves.”

Lincoln County Capt. Dustin Bairfield, the group’s trainingcoordinator, said the class started off with 12, and had narroweddown to the seven that finished on Saturday.

“It’s been a very trying four months,” he said. “They’vededicated their time and effort, and they’ve stood up to thechallenge. This graduation ceremony marks a great accomplishmentfor them.”

Bairfield said the group received instruction not only from theLincoln County Sheriff’s Department, but also from other agencies -including the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol, the districtattorney’s office, and instructors from the University of SouthernMississippi.

When he addressed the graduates, Rushing reminded them whatbeing an officer is all about.

“Remember what you learned first and foremost,” he said.”Remember honesty and integrity are imperative to the job you do,and that you need to stand up for what you’ve done.”

Brown, who was elected team leader by his classmates, said theissue of ethics was one that stuck with him through histraining.

“We make decisions every day along the lines of right versuswrong,” he said. “And if you read through the law enforcement codeof ethics, you’ll see something that should be the moral characterof every officer.”

After the class recited the code of ethics, Rushing remindedthem again of how important that part of their training was.

“Commit it to memory, live by it, and keep your faith in God,”said Rushing.

Brown also told the group about the highs and lows of thetraining.

“The physical training was a real challenge for me, as I know itwas for all of the other recruits,” he said. “And there were goodclasses and boring ones, but my favorite was the tactical driving.We got to drive the cop cars like crazy around the course and chasethe instructors around with the sirens on.”

New Wesson Police Reserve Officer Kristen Lee said the physicaltraining was tough as well. She said, however, that being the onlyfemale in the group was actually great fun.

“They’re a great group of guys,” said Lee, who just left themilitary after six years of service. “They treated me like a littlesister. This was a great class to graduate with.”

One of the last nights of training, the group had to endurebeing pepper sprayed in the face.

“It wasn’t as bad as I thought, like I didn’t have to cut off myhead to make it stop,” said Brown. “Okay, never mind, it was bad,but it wasn’t as bad as the first PT. Captain Hall had us runninguntil I almost passed out.”

Lincoln County Reserve Deputy Kirby Ebbers received the Best inClass Overall award, as well as the Physical Fitness award. Leereceived the Academic award, and Lawrence County Deputy CurtisLambert garnered the top honors in Firearms.

The graduates are now state certified as part-time lawenforcement officers.