NEWTON, MA — Thirteen local residents with developmental disabilities gathered with family and friends at JCC Greater Boston last month to be honored as the latest graduates of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office (MSO) Special Citizens Academy.
The four week long academy provided participants with the opportunity to learn more about the MSO and local public safety agencies, and was held in conjunction with JCC Greater Boston, the Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Boston, the Newton Police Department, and the Newton Mayor’s Office.
“The Special Citizens Academy is a unique opportunity both for our cadets and our staff. It’s a chance to explore the world of public safety in a way that creates valuable lessons and lifelong memories for these graduates,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian. “This Academy is made all the better through the assistance of the community and public safety partners, who graciously lent their time, space, and enthusiasm to this program.”
Academy participants attended classes on issues such as Internet safety and awareness, fire safety and first aid, and scam prevention. They also toured some of the MSO’s specialized resources, met with Chief David MacDonald and officers from the Newton Police Department, and saw demonstrations from the MSO and the National Parks Service (NPS) K-9s.
“It’s great to have thirteen local residents learn more about so many aspects of public safety. It’s a great partnership between the City of Newton Police Department, Sheriff Peter Koutoujian and the JCC Greater Boston located here in Boston,” said Mayor Ruthanne Fuller.
“The Sheriff’s Office presents practical and important lessons and information to the students in the Special Citizen’s Academy,” said Chief MacDonald. “All involved from the instructors to the students interact in a happy, hands on environment. I was very pleased to be invited to participate. This is a top notch program.”
“JCC Greater Boston is honored to partner with these fantastic organizations to support the Special Citizens Academy,” said President and CEO of JCC Greater Boston Mark Sokoll. “This program reflects our commitment to cultivating an inclusive community with accessible programs. Thank you for the opportunity.”
The MSO Special Citizens Academy launched in 2017, and over 50 men and women have participated in the program since its inception. The next Academy is already scheduled for spring 2019; interested participants and caregivers can contact Community Affairs Director Ken Doucette by phone at 978-495-7408 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to register.