I've decided that I'm not going to continue specifically with my Police Academy series. There are a couple of reasons for that:
1. I'm not always clear what it's okay to write about and what it's not. I don't want to either share secrets that I'm not supposed, nor to give out any misinformation.
2. This blog is getting to feel heavy to me, and honestly, I need to vary to some lighter topics.
Be that as it may, I do want to wrap up some things today. Again, I want to reiterate how wonderful the whole Citizens Police Academy experience has been, and how grateful I am to the many presenters who have worked to make our information sessions as wonderful as they have been.
I also want to put a special shout out to Officer Stephanie Kjos-Warner, my delightful host for my "ride-along" last Tuesday. It was very enlightening and Officer Kjos-Warner was extremely generous in answering my many questions. She even took time to help me on a whole number of aspects of my plot. Interestingly enough, she's also a writer, and writes simply fabulous children's stories, some of which she shared with me during lunch break. It's interesting to me that I, as someone who works with children, is a mom, etc., etc., chooses to write about darker, adult themes, and this woman who works with the scarier aspects of society writes these delightful, humorous stories for young children! Guess that just goes to show you that writing still is the best form of escapism.
The Ann Arbor News has produced a series of articles over the last week about police work in Ann Arbor. This is very important because our city budget is up for voting and one of the issues is FINALLY getting the much-needed new facilities for our Police Department and Court system. The conditions that the Ann Arbor Police work under are decrepit. They need far better facilities and tools. A couple of our local council members have started a campaign to put this funding off yet again.
To add insult to injury, a gorgeous, new, state-of-the-art facility was opened as the new homeless shelter. While that was also a great need, and while I am certainly supportive of homeless facilities being safe and truly useful (ie. having the services, offices, etc., to get people permanent housing, employment, medical care, etc.), given that our police officers and staff have faced cuts repeatedly, had their work loads go up exponentially, and that many of their day-to-day work involves way too much work on "nuisance cases" - many of the same guests who use the shelter and who are actually mentally ill or addicts and who need a different support system than the ones currently in place in MI.
If that wasn't enough, apparently it's easier to fund our city golf courses (see articles below).
We are a very liberal town. And we are a very wealthy town. Even during the current economy, especially when you compare us to other parts of Michigan. This combination makes us far more likely to support things like homeless shelters than new facilities for our overworked police officers.
These people work hard for us every. single. day. They are there around the clock, and they are there to help us with everything from delivering babies to getting our lazy children out of bed and to their high school (yup, you heard me right), to dealing with armed drug dealers, to making sure the crowds of over 110,000 are safe during a U of M Football Saturday.
Don't they deserve our support? If you haven't already, please contact your council members and urge them to push through the desperately needed funding for this project.
For more information on what the AAPD faces on a daily basis, see these articles (They are in reverse chronological order):
The chronic criminal No easy solution to repeat-offender problem
Police forces shrinking
Golf course plan approved
Sparks may fly over police-court building
Use of park money for golf to stir debate
Okay, this is the last of my soapbox posts for a while.