Lloyd Police hold Academy Graduation

By Mark Reynolds
Posted 7/9/24

Last week the Lloyd Police Department held a graduation ceremony for residents who attended the Civilian Police Academy. The 6 week course was held in the evening, once a week for three hours and was …

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Lloyd Police hold Academy Graduation

Last week the Lloyd Police Department held a graduation ceremony for residents who attended the Civilian Police Academy. The 6 week course was held in the evening, once a week for three hours and was designed to give attendees insight into the job of a police officer and what they face on a daily basis. The course started with a history of the Lloyd Police Department, their equipment from firearms to ATVs and body cams as well as a tour of the police station. In the following weeks it covered community policing, what happens at traffic stops and why someone is pulled over, reality-based training [RBT] and presenting a mock fatal DWI accident with an arrest following a field sobriety test, replete with the fire department, New Paltz Rescue and Torsone’s Funeral Home on hand. In week 4, legal issues were introduced, which touched upon Bail Reform, Discovery procedures, Court Protocols and how domestic violence is handled by the Office of the District Attorney from arrest to prosecution. The following week the attendees became part of a civilian response to an Active Shooter scenario, with one attendee taking on the role of the shooter.
Police Chief James Janso said the 5 year hiatus of the Academy was due in part to the pandemic and because of staffing. He said today the department is fully staffed, “and we decided to try it again and we put our feelers out and there was a lot of interest in having it again.”
Chief Janso said 16 attend, noting that 15 to 20 is a perfect number because it allows for more interaction.
“It was a great class. They were very attentive and interested and I think they had their eyes opened to what the police do and the challenges they face, the training we have, what we’re up against, what they do from a lockout to a car accident,” he said. “I think they walked away with a better understanding of who we are and that we’re not just a cop, we’re a person. We have families we want to go home to and we do this job to our best for our department and the community.”
Chief Janso said he received very positive feedback from the attendees, many saying they would like to come to another course in the future.
“It was great to see our guys involved by coming in and helping out. Everything went smoothly and it definitely was a positive experience for us and them,” he said.
B.J. Mikkelsen and his wife Patricia attended the Academy for the first time.
“We were quite impressed and from one night to another it was an eye-opener,” B.J. said. “We felt also that the local officers were very well trained, they spoke well and they behaved the way the public would expect a Police Officer to behave.”
The couple is hoping that in future classes younger people and parents would attend. Patricia added, “It was an amazing amount of information and an amazing experience...they were very, very professional and there was cooperation between the departments, the attorneys, the Judge, the police and the fire department; they all worked so well together.” B.J. said the course was not just about telling “war stories, but this was quality time all the way through.”
When asked what they most took away form the course, Patricia said, “Total respect; from the first night when we sat in the police cruisers and I realized that if I was that officer and had to look out the windshield at where I was driving, had to look at the dashboard, and look in the rear-view mirror at the prisoner sitting behind me in the car, listen to all of the calls that were coming in over the radio, while I was checking out the computer screen beside me; I said this is way beyond me I could never do this.”
B.J. said the publicity value of hosting the Academy, “was incredible,” stressing that no one after taking this course would have a negative thing to say about law enforcement.
Steven Laubach said this was his second time taking the class, noting that this year’s hands-on training, along with creating reality based scenarios such as the active shooter, “was more effective.” He said the course brings into stark relief the challenges that officers face on a daily basis.
“You get an unbelievable amount of respect for what they do for a living when you see what they have to put up with every day,” he said. “The same with the District Attorneys; the workload they’re dealing with is almost  unbelievable.”
Laubach took on the role of the active shooter during that particular class.
“It gave you a pretty good idea of what happens and how you can distract somebody or what you can do if you are in that situation,” he said. “By simulating it in a school like we did, it gives you a reaction of something you’ve done before, if you ever got stuck there.”
Laubach recalled that when he burst into a classroom playing the shooter, “and they had Nerf balls to throw at me, it completely threw me off guard and it completely destroyed my focus of what I was there to do and these people were able to get out. Seeing it from that side and seeing how it affects somebody when you can’t hide or run and you have to fight and go that route with a lot of people all doing the same thing, you can distract somebody. It worked on me and I lost focus.”
Laubach walked away from the class with a renewed sense of respect for law enforcement.
“It’s so hard what they do and they have to be so brave; that really strikes me and they just take it in stride and say that’s what we signed up for, but I don’t think too many people can do that on a daily basis,” he said. “I think everybody should attend this course, especially young people, it’s that good.”
Chief Janso thanked all who assisted in the class: Lt. Roloson, Sgt. Miller, Sgt. Roberto, Sgt. Vail, Sgt. Tucker, Officer Kalimeras, Officer Scott, Officer Vazeos, Officer Nicolis, Officer McEwen and Dispatcher Farrow.
In addition, Judge Terry Elia, Ulster County Chief Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Culmone-Mills and Ulster County Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Paul DerOhannesian gave their professional perspective.  Janso also thanked the Highland Fire Department, New Paltz Rescue Squad, Premier Auto Body, Torsones Funeral Home, St. Augustine’s School, High School students Leland DuBois and Bradley Gatto and Vigneto Café for catering the graduation dinner.