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that’s what I have set out to do, and I hope to be fully staffed by the end of the year. That will be based on how well our cadets are accepted into the Academy,” he told attendees and the Council.

According to Jermon, three cadets recently graduated from the Academy, located within the Georgia Public Safety Training Center at Forsyth, and four cadets are currently completing training in the program. An additional four cadets will enter the Academy’s next session.

These cadets complete an extensive interview process with the VPD, and complete several physical and mental screenings. If hired and approved to go to the Academy, the cadets sign contracts with the VPD, which ensures that the officers will be working within the Department for at least three years.

Jermon introduced officers Barbara Jean Deen, Dre Mayweather, and Robert Wickstrom to the Council, explaining that they were the most recent graduates from the Academy. “I can say that the ones that just graduated went through pure hell at the Academy, but they weathered the storm and will be better officers for it. I think the City of Vidalia should be proud to have them; I know I am. They are young, and they will be here way after I retire. At least, that’s what we hope,” he remarked.

“Each one of them has their own stories,” Jermon continued. “I don’t want to single Officer Dean out, but you wouldn’t believe how much she suffered. She was five months’ pregnant in the Academy, and we got ridiculed because she did everything that men and other women could do. She over-excelled more than what they were doing, but still the Academy and the City of Vidalia wanted us to pull her out of the Academy.”

He shared that he was firm on his decision to leave Deen in the Academy, stating that it helped to emphasize the character of officers. “That exemplifies that heart behind what we do. That’s part of our mantra: ‘You keep fighting until you can’t fight anymore.’ When you can’t fight anymore, three days after that, they will put you in the ground,” Jermon said.

In addition to the new officers, Jermon introduced the new Communications Unit Employee Terri Graffagnino and recently promoted Sergeant SanAntonio Wilcher.

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