Reserve officers tackle class

Published 5:00 am Monday, July 16, 2007

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

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

Brown was one of seven graduates from five law enforcement agencies taking part in the graduation ceremony held at the Justice Court building Saturday morning. The new reserve officers represented the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department as well as the departments of Lawrence and Walthall counties and the Wesson and Summit police departments.

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

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

“It’s been a very trying four months,” he said. “They’ve dedicated their time and effort, and they’ve stood up to the challenge. This graduation ceremony marks a great accomplishment for them.”

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

When he addressed the graduates, Rushing reminded them what being 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 the issue of ethics was one that stuck with him through his training.

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

After the class recited the code of ethics, Rushing reminded them 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 the training.

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

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

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

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

“It wasn’t as bad as I thought, like I didn’t have to cut off my head 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 running until I almost passed out.”

Lincoln County Reserve Deputy Kirby Ebbers received the Best in Class Overall award, as well as the Physical Fitness award. Lee received the Academic award, and Lawrence County Deputy Curtis Lambert garnered the top honors in Firearms.

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