The 21st class of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Citizens Academy graduated 38 new members at a commencement dinner Thursday. 

“What a great county we live in where residents take this kind of interest in their Sheriff’s Office,” said Sheriff Charles McDonald. He thanked the graduates for dedicating 13 evenings to getting to know the ins and outs of the Sheriff’s Office and the men and women who keep it going.

Each Tuesday evening from mid-January to mid-April, deputies and Sheriff’s Office staff from various divisions presented information to the Sheriff’s Citizens Academy. Participants toured the Sheriff’s Office, Detention Center, 911 Center and VirTra firearms simulator in addition to a variety of demonstrations and presentations from the SWAT team, EOD (Bomb squad), K9 Deputies, Warrants, Criminal Investigations Division, Animal Enforcement, School Resource Deputies, Office of Professional Standards, Volunteers in Partnership (VIP) and many more.

The graduation ceremony held at the Cedars was kicked off by Academy Director Barry Brown. He complimented the graduates on their dedication and commented on the attributes that set them apart from others. He said it takes a special kind of person to really want to know what goes on in their Sheriff’s Office, and it's a special kind of person who takes responsibility for their own safety.

The invocation was led by former Director John Goheen, followed by remarks from McDonald. He thanked Brown and Assistant Director Warren Hargis for providing a wonderful and robust curriculum for the students.

Bill Moss, editor and publisher of the Hendersonville Lightning, was the guest speaker for the evening. He gave an entertaining and enlightening commentary on the mutually beneficial relationship between law enforcement and the press.

Following the presentation of certificates, James and Janet Nunziato presented exquisite homemade cards signed by the graduates to McDonald, Brown and Hargis as a token of their appreciation.

Academy graduate Jeff Nix remarked about how, as an Edneyville native, he was continually impressed each week by the deputies. He commented how amazing the staff is and how everything is handled.

“Most people in the community don’t know what our Sheriff’s Office does and what it stands for,” Nix said. 

The 2017 Sheriff’s Citizens Academy graduates are: Alvin Barnwell, Michael Bauer, Marianne Bjork, Theresa Bozdog, Anne Brauner, Randall Brunk, Gary Carlson, Donald Cunningham, Douglas DiRienzo, Teresa Fleming, James Gunning, Jr., Shirley Hastings, Ross Hastings, LaVerne Hooper, Ashley Lapp, Carolina McCready, Sarah McHarge, James McHarge, Sue Meserow, Bill Michael, Jeff Nix, Janet Nunziato, James Nunziato, Collin Petty, Elaine Powers, Robert Powers, Harvey Sankey, Jr., Tommy Saunooke, Gail Scruggs, Brenda Sloan, Ronald Taylor, John Tracy, Kathy Wagaman, Gary Waldron, Everett Walker Jr., Darrell Watson, Debra White and John T. Wilkins.

The next Sheriff’s Citizens Academy is scheduled to start in January. All classes are held at the Sheriff’s Office at 100 N. Grove St., Hendersonville. Applications and information may be picked up in the lobby at this location or at www.hendersoncountync.org/sheriff/sheriffs_citizens_academy.html. Completed applications may be returned by mail or left at the Reception Desk in the Sheriff’s Office lobby.

For more information, call 828-694-2742.