It’s official, y’all. I’m now a graduate of the Bartlett PD Citizens Police Academy as of April 14th, 2022. I also received an extra award I wasn’t even aware would be handed out, nor that knew I even QUALIFIED for. More on THAT in a bit. (Let’s just say Ole Cap had some fun at the expense of a few graduates throughout the evening.) In the meantime, this will be my last official blog post about the course, so grab yourself a cold (non-alcoholic beverage cause the popo is reading this, yo), sit back, relax and enjoy my final thoughts.
Here’s the official Bartlett PD Graduation photo (Our graduating class after an intense 6 week hands-on course):
The Bartlett PD’s graduation was on a much smaller scale than the Memphis PD graduation. Here’s a pic from the Memphis one (I graduated in November of last year after a 9 week classroom-style course):
Just a tad difference in size. 🙂 To be fair, the Memphis graduation included EVERY precinct across the city. Our actual precinct class was around the same size as the Bartlett class, maybe with a couple more folks overall.
Graduation was held in the courtroom, (just a few doors down from where we had class) and we were encouraged to bring our families (no DOGS though, pffffft). Interestingly, several of us showed up like lone fugitives, being hauled into court to be judged by a panel of our peers. OK, not really, but yeah, most of us didn’t bring anyone. I think one too many stories of Ole Cap and his escapades must have made the rounds during family dinners….just sayin’. (insert winky emoji here…lol)
We heard from one of the Bartlett Aldermen and the Assistant Chief of Police who thanked us for our participation and applauded our overall achievement of completing the course (it’s almost like they figured we might be scared away by something…or SOMEONE); and then Captain Todd Halford resided over the remaining graduation ceremony, handing out certificates of graduation in alphabetical order, all while razzing various students based on classroom antics, or things he’d learned about them during our time in class.
Like myself, for instance.
When it came time to present MY certificate, he made me stand there as he told the amused onlookers how I blog, own a radio station, host a radio show (and now I feel I should humbly remind everyone that it IS indeed THE #1 digital talk/rockabilly radio show in the world which you can listen to M-F at 12 and 6 pm CENTRAL on www.speedwayradio.us (shameless plug cause I can), and not a podcast; although I DO host a podcast as well, but still, ouch) and how I said in a blog post that he reminded me of Garth Brooks (I still stand by that statement. Put a cowboy hat on him and VIOLA, GARTH!) and how I think the SWAT guys are hot. (I mean, c’mon…dudes all decked out in SWAT gear, guns and being assertive…yes, I do think that’s hot.) So?
After all the graduation certificates were handed out, we figured we’d take some group photos, then go eat.
Oh, nay nay Ole Cap doth say.
There were apparently a few more “Captain Halford” awards to hand out once the main certificates were dispersed. According to his much bemused self, he issues a few “awards” to folks who, for lack of a better way of saying it; failed miserably in one area or another. These were the ones, as he said, you DON’T want to get. I think we all see where this is going, right?
I don’t know if I remember ALL of them, as there were a few, but one was for longest time it took to complete the obstacle course, one for the person who decided, “I’m gonna do what I wanna do”, one for worst gun handler/should never ever ever go near or shoot a gun again, etc. They were really funny awards and everyone laughed along as they were being doled out. Now, BEFORE I tell you this next award, I need to be honest with y’all: It was during these first few “awards” he handed out that I figured if I was gonna get one of THOSE awards, it would probably for my blog recaps each week.
Ole Cap had other plans, though.
Before announcing the recipient, he went into this REALLY OVERLY DRAMATIC description of this award; how, out on the obstacle course this person had the most cones knocked over, blah, blah, blah… Everyone, myself included, immediately turned to Intern Ellie, who literally shrank in her seat and pulled her sunglasses down over her eyes, because in reality, she DID knock over the most cones. I mean, the woman had a full on gaggle of cones underneath her car. So, naturally, we all thought the award was going to HER.
When that man (said in full respect but with added emphasis for this story) called MY NAME, I literally yelled, “ME?! WHAT?!!! ELLIE HAD THE MOST CONES!!!” To which he rebutted: “Yes, but SHE is an intern and not in the actual CLASS, YOU ARE.” WHEN I TELL YOU that room was full on LOVING this turn of events, sheweeee. (Oh, and just so y’all know…Intern Ellie was the one who got the reward for “I’m gonna do what I wanna do, so she TECHNICALLY could have gotten this one. I demand a recount!!!)
He made me pose for a picture with him and this so-called “award”. Look, just look at this nonsense:
I think he had been waiting on this moment to get me back ever since I referred to him as Garth in that earlier blog post. I don’t care. 3 cones is hardly an offense. Yeah, yeah, I know how he said each cone was the equivalent to a life, I get it, I do, as I’d never want to unalive anyone, but I mean C’MON, Cone Crusher award? To ME? All I’m saying is, you just inadvertently gave my family (namely, my Aunt Connie) yet ANOTHER reason to rag me about my driving. SIGH. (I STILL ran one of the fastest times my 3rd time through, and no amount of “cone deductions” is gonna keep me from claiming my right to that! Pashaw, I say…pashaw.)
Anyways, stupid made up awards aside, the graduation was a complete success, we all exchanged phone numbers and friended each other on the ole book of faces. Finger foods and lil petite pastries were waiting for us afterwards. (I mean, I really thought there would be power rings, but I SUPPOSE it was ok that there weren’t.) Insert dramatic sad movie ending orchestra music here for full effect.
Cap wanted to show me something before I left. He took me in and introduced me to another Captain (I mean, I THINK she was a Captain, so we are gonna roll with it…), who’s name escapes me because, well, it’s been nearly a week since that night and I didn’t take a single note. She was super nice. He then explained that he’d been telling the Chief all about this lil ole blog I do, and how I’d been recapping each week’s class. He then showed me an entire presentation folder with ALL of my weekly blog recaps in PRINT, all neatly divided by week. He said the Chief wanted to read it (Hey, Chief, how’s your mama and dem?), and also that he would be putting it in his files along with the course materials for future reference. Say, what? Come again? I’m like, not gonna be fined, or put in jail, or tailed all over Bartlett now, am I? Cause, I promise y’all, I didn’t do it. I mean, I did write the blog, but I didn’t do whatever anyone SAYS I did. I’m all about backin’ the men and women in blue, especially in the great city of Bartlett, TN. Shew…I think I covered all my bases there. If not, don’t tell me. But, waitadangminute…now that I’m thinking about it, if the SWAT team wants to come at me, well…how YOU doin?
I was literally speechless and honored. Seriously, no joke. I didn’t ever expect the posts I did each week to make as big an impact as they have with anyone. Everyone I spoke to in class told me they’d been reading it, too. They were loving it. I think for anyone who writes, that’s the ultimate compliment. They just want others to like what they have to say and be entertained. I just try to do it with a sense of humor to boot. Seems to make it more palatable.
OH, and we got these amazing Bartlett PD tumblers. I’ve taken that thing with me EVERYWHERE. I’m like, “WABAM! Look at my tumbler Mr. Drive Thru Worker! KAPOW! Hey, vet tech, let me switch hands cause this here BARTLETT PD TUMBLER is taking up a lot of real estate over here in my left hand. Seriously, I love stuff like that. Yeah, I could probably go buy something similar, but then I would have missed out on all the fun I had over the course of those 6 weeks, or the new friends I made within the Bartlett PD AND in class. I am truly, and I mean this from the cockles of my heart (look it up), feeling super sad knowing I’m not gonna see everyone on Thursday nights now. Oh, I’ve got plenty to keep me busy and to blog about, but none will match the fun, the seriousness, nor the overall camaraderie I experienced with everyone during those 6 weeks.
Ya know, this was the first real activity I did since my surgery in January, and I wasn’t sure of how I’d be able to handle it. Obviously, I did great (3 crushed cones not withstanding). I think it was something I NEEDED to do for myself. Folks have asked me why I even wanted to do this course since I don’t live in Bartlett and I did the one in Memphis late last year. A couple reasons, I want to move to Bartlett, I wanted to make friends over there, and I wanted to see how the police force stood in regards to their relationship with the community. It’s safe to say they love their city and take their jobs very seriously and yet, at the same time, encourage interaction from the community they serve and foster relationships between the two.
Captain Halford, I feel I can safely say this on behalf of the entire 45th Graduating Class of the Bartlett PD Citizens Police Academy: THANK YOU, Sir, for showing us, with tons of fun hands-on activities during each class, such a detailed account of what you and your men and women do for the city of Bartlett and it’s citizens. It’s so obvious you care and strive to do the best you can in every situation y’all find yourselves in. Please stay safe out there and I mean, maybe those of us in the 45th (aka the GREATEST class you ever taught) could meet up every once in a while at the station for a lil “how do” with y’all every now and again. In the meantime, I have to go find the PERFECT Dollar Tree frames to put BOTH my graduation certificate AND “Cone Crusher” award in to hang on my “look at me” wall next to my three targets from the gun range. Hell yeah!
Now, ’bout them power rings….
(DISCLAIMOR: I actually really enjoyed Captain Halford’s classes, his “techniques” and how he picked on everyone, myself included. He reminds me of my younger brother, just…with less hair (tehehe), and I think that is one reason it made it so fun for me to blog about the classes. He’s loud, he’s proud, and he’s got the ability to arrest me so I felt I needed to make this lil statement before rounding out this here lil blog series on the Bartlett PD Citizens Police Academy.)