Volunteers upset at training Friday
Jul 16, 2013 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Editor’s note: Each of the following letters was written in response to a law enforcement training exercise held last week at the Trigg County Primary and Intermediate School. A story on the training can be found on page A2. To the editor:

I volunteer at the animal shelter with Ramona Hamilton and on Tuesday, July 9, Ramona told all the volunteers that we would be helping the community, that she had been asked, so myself and five other volunteers ranging in age from 13 to 51 showed up at 8:30 a.m. and were greeted by the person who asked us to participate.

The other volunteers and I were waiting for the rest of the people to arrive. The 13-year-old was very excited to be a part of this, and the rest of us were happy to help our community.

Officer Duncan Wiggins then arrived, and while he was standing next to his vehicle, he was staring very intently at Terance, a very well-mannered young adult. I witnessed this personally. This took place for a good six-seven minutes and was very apparent to all around.

Officer Wiggins passed where we were sitting with his weapon slung across his chest and went into the building.

A few minutes later, the person who invited us came out and spoke to Ramona in private. Ramona then told us that the persons who invited us said that Officer Wiggins did not want us to participate and that we would find his own people. We then left.

Julie Coleman, Cadiz

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To the editor:

On or about July 9, my son, age 13, was invited to assist the county in a mock practice event on the following Friday. As a 13-year-old boy raised in a single-parent environment due to military deployments and war, he had seen his road of trouble. Nothing law related, just hard times. He figured this would be a fresh start in a new attitude. What better way then helping the community and working side by side with law enforcement.

It is summer time, so getting up at a decent time for a 13-year-old can be challenging, but on this particular day he set his own alarm clock and was ready to go to be there on time. His ride picked him up along with other volunteers. Within two hours, he returned home, upset. He proceeded to tell me the person in charge didn’t like the volunteers asked to come and he would get his own volunteers.

This has really confused my son. He was on a road to personal destruction, and once guided the right direction, he feels he was turned away. How can we expect different behaviors out of our children when the very people we are supposed to trust and respect don’t feel they are good enough?

Stephanie Austin, Cadiz

***

To the editor:

Friday, July 12, 2013 was supposed to be a semi-special day for Ramona Hamilton and the crew out at the Trigg County Humane Society. We were going to be playing the roles of school shooting victims. We were all quite excited, I especially, to be giving back to the community after I had taken away from it throughout my lifetime.

I was a troubled youth and young adult. I had a few minor incidents with local law enforcement here in Trigg County over the years. All of these were petty misdemeanor offenses. However, I paid my debt to society. Through all of this, I also beat a prescription pill addiction. I am now able to give that back to my community through the public assistance program I am in. The state helps me with cash to care for myself, fiancée, and two young boys. I then volunteer with Ms. Ramona every week to, in a sense, reimburse the state of Kentucky.

Friday came, Ramona and our Trigg Humane Society crew, along with a young teenage man, headed to the school to participate in our activities for the day. Upon arrival, we were greeted by LE officers and EMS, with handshakes and gratitude. Things quickly started rolling downhill from the time one particular officer, Deputy Police Chief Major Duncan Wiggins of the Cadiz Police Department arrived.

Keep in mind our crew was going to be playing the roles of shooting victims for the EMS team, not CPD. Major Wiggins had arrived a bit later than other LE officers. I was looked at as though I was the scum of the earth. What could someone like me possibly be doing here? He stared me down all the way down the sidewalk, looking away as he approached the building. He hadn’t been inside but for a few brief moments when an EMS worker approached our director, Ms. Ramona. She asked us all to go wait by her truck; that we wouldn’t be participating after all.

The impression I was left with was; had I not been present, the ladies and young gentleman would have gotten to participate. How dare they take this experience from these individuals, especially, the young gentleman who is still very impressionable?

I don’t quite understand when it becomes okay to kick someone back down when they are trying to raise themselves up. Someone might as well have come to me and said, “Sir, you’re not good enough.”

I am utterly outraged at how we were treated and can only hope that something will be done. Not only for my sake, but for everyone else’s that has ever experienced treatment like this from our local LE officers.

Terance Bingham, Cadiz

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To the editor:

The police department and ambulance drivers here in Cadiz, had training at our schools Thursday, July 11 and Friday, July 12, 2013. The workers at the humane society were supposed to be a part of one of those training exercises. We were going to “play dead” for the EMS workers.

At the Humane Society we volunteer to pay for assistance we receive. We are not through the court system. We were there to give something back to our community. We work with the animals daily, but rarely do we get the opportunity to do it where it’s noticed on such a large scale.

Apparently, everyone involved didn’t think it was such a great idea. After Deputy Cadiz Police Chief Major Duncan Wiggins arrived, the whole cheerful mood quickly disappeared from everything. As we were sitting there, the man from EMS we met approached Ms. Hamilton and began a conversation with her, which was very brief. She then quietly sent us to the truck. She instructed us get in and wait for her because we were leaving. Once she got in she told us that Mr. Wiggins had sent the EMS gentleman to dismiss us.

I feel this was directly because we have a gentleman that works with us that has had a few petty charges from his past. Who doesn’t do something stupid from time to time? Everyone just doesn’t get caught. Regardless of the reason, it was totally unfair that we were so easily brushed aside by this man. We were there because we have taken from society and we wanted to give something back. I don’t see how it is fair to us that we were made to leave. No matter what he may say in self-defense, there is no valid reason he could have had for making us leave. He himself said he would “find his own victims,” not that he already had them. He can’t say it’s because we were public citizens because he told the newspaper he was incorporating more civilians into the training they do.

Goes to show these officers with a “god-complex” are not just something you see in movies. People need to start speaking up when these things happen in our community. Otherwise, nothing will ever be done about it. It’s just so unfair we were deprived of being able to contribute to our community this day. Even if nothing is done about this incident in particular, I still feel the public should be aware that these things are not fictional, they really happens every day.

Tara Henderson, Cadiz

***

To the editor:

I am a recipient of public assistance. It isn’t something I exactly wanted to share with everyone; however, I feel it necessary to explain my position. I participate in a cash assistance program through the state commonly known as K-Tap for intact families (families with both parents in home). In turn for this assistance, I do community service with Ms. Ramona Hamilton and several other volunteers at our Trigg County Humane Society. We work with the animals, but we also volunteer when other businesses, departments and individuals in our community need assistance.

On Monday, July 8, 2013, Ms. Hamilton approached us and informed us she was contacted by EMS and they needed a few volunteers. Turns out, it was for their active shooter training they were holding at the school. Our crew was essentially going to be posing as shooting victims. We were eager to lend them a helping hand.

When we arrived, we were greeted by several law enforcement officials and EMS workers. They vaguely explained to us what we’d be doing and we sat down and waited for everyone else to arrive.

It seemed like quite some time had passed when one of the EMS workers came out and approached Ms. Hamilton. They had a brief conversation and she then turned to us and said it was time to go and that we wouldn’t be participating after all. As we rolled away we found out that we were turned away due to Cadiz Deputy Police Chief Major Duncan Wiggins deciding he didn’t want to use us, that he’d find his own volunteers. Without giving specific details, our group strongly feels this was done to be spiteful. I am outraged by the decision to make us leave. Local media has informed citizens that they are doing this training and also that they are incorporating civilians into the training.

One of the volunteers has had problems with minor legal matters in the past, but has ambitiously worked to better his life. He was very excited about giving back to his community by assisting the law enforcement officers and EMS. This excitement quickly turned to displeasure when he was heartlessly turned away.

It’s disappointing how the people that we are supposed to have the most trust in can so easily dismiss members of the community. It’s even more astonishing when they are so eager to help. All Ms. Hamilton’s volunteers, myself included, are very well on our way to making better lives for ourselves

There is also one more point to his that disturbed me the most. That being, the young teenager who had accompanied us had to be subjected to all of this. He, as well, was very excited about helping out and giving back to his community. Instead, he was turned down by the people that children are taught to trust indefinitely. I don’t understand how anyone could see this as acceptable treatment of persons who simply wanted to give back to their community.

I want to thank all of the officers and EMS workers who treated us with respect and gratitude when Ms. Hamilton introduced us. I appreciate the invite to come down even though it did not work out. I don’t, however, think that stuff like this should be allowed to continue to go on in our community.

The Police Department demands respect, but if it isn’t willing to reach out to those members of the community trying to improve their lives, what kind of message are they sending?

Amanda Powell, Cadiz
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