GREAT FALLS — About 30 members of the Great Falls community are learning what it takes to be a Sheriff's deputy by taking part in the Citizens Academy hosted by the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Jesse Slaughter says the academy is a great way to build a relationship with the community and provide transparency.
“There’s no secrets, this is a public office,” said Slaughter. “There’s criminal justice information that’s buried in reports and computers that people can’t see, but the rest of this, this is the public’s building, this their office. So we want to open our doors to them and build a relationship so we understand one another, just have a better understanding of our community.”
The class is diverse with participants ranging from retired military personnel to healthcare, business, and real estate.
“I want to learn more about law enforcement and I like to hopefully, in one way or another, help keep Great Falls a safe and good place to live,” said class participant Ronald Staley who also owns Perfection Machine & Repair in Great Falls.
“I want to find out more about my new community, starting with crime because I’ve been hearing over and over again about the issues,” said realtor Fabiola Hanser. Hanser recently moved to Great Falls from Miami and also became interested in the class through her association with the late Cleve Loney, a former Great Falls area legislator and advocate for law enforcement.
This is the third Citizens Academy since Slaughter took office in 2019.
Over the course of the next few weeks, participants in the class will learn more about the detention center, the role of the coroner, and also get some firearms training.