People in Aiken take a crash course in public safety

By: Justin Fabiano Email
By: Justin Fabiano Email

News 12 at 11 O'clock / Thursday, September 13, 2012

AIKEN, S.C. -- Marion Engel spent her Thursday evening taking photos at Aiken Public Safety Headquarters, but it was more than just a photo opportunity; it was an opportunity to learn what it's like to be a public safety officer.

"After the tragedy of our two fallen officers I just wanted to get closer to the officers," she said.

She's one of 24 people taking a nine week course. Thursday was just the first day where students got the syllabus. They took a hands on tour of the headquarters with exhibits of every subject they'll be learning from the SWAT team, to firefighting, to investigations.

"These selected members come in and get to see what we do on a daily basis," Sgt. Jake Mahoney said.

One of Marion's biggest concerns was equipment. She wanted to see that "our boys are taken care of."

"Tonight I found out they do have up to the minute equipment," she said after looking at guns, ammunition, protective gear, and vehicles.

However, both the officer teachers and citizen students say it's about more than simply learning a job.

"[It's about] building relationships that go beyond a car stop or and interview," Mahoney said.

"That's part of it. We want to help, and that way you feel like you know someone and it's home," Marion added.

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