The Decatur Citizens Police Academy Alumni Organization (CPAAA) was formed in 1999. The Alumni’s purpose is to assist the Decatur Police Department (DPD) in various ways that will allow the officers to spend more time on the street patrolling Decatur, making purchased for the officers to increase their safety, and to promote the DPD within the community. Prior to becoming a CPAAA member, each person must successfully complete a 10-week orientation class (one night a week). To date, there have been 13 classes and the Alumni currently have about 50 active members.
One of the most outstanding members is Tom Barry. Barry graduated from the 7th Class and has been an active member ever since. In the last couple of years, he has consistently contributed 50 to 60 hours a month. The CPAAA performs many different tasks under the supervision of the DPD. In SE Decatur, there is a DPD Sub-station located at East Acres. This is where Barry spends most of his time. The Crime Prevention Unit (CPU) is located at this facility.
The Citizen Police Academy (CPA) Program is ongoing today as Barry almost single-handedly structures the classes, schedules instructors, arranges the facility and hosts each of the 10 classes. The handouts for the classes are updated and provided through Barry’s involvement. The DPD did all the above when the classes first started in 1998, but now are available for patrolling as Barry is conducting the weekly sessions.
Barry monitors the Neighborhood Watches in Decatur. The follow up of existing Watches or the developing of new Watches are part of Barry’s contributions. There are areas in Decatur that are very grateful for his caring. Again through Barry’s management of Watches, the DPD are brought in as needed when special instructions or services are required.
A by-product of the Neighborhood Watch is citywide statistics. Posted at the DPD Headquarters are monthly charts detailing the various crimes and identifying the zones in Decatur where the incident took place. Tom extracts the data, makes, and posts the charts. The CPU works closely with the Decatur schools and fingerprinting all the students in one of the CPU’s involvement. Here again, Barry is involved helping coordinate and print. The CPU has a project called S.A.F.E. The purpose is to provide supervised fun and counseling for teens in the East Acre’s area. As time permits, you will also find Barry assisting this worthwhile program.
How do you quantify a person’s contributions to the community who has contributed over 2500 hours with the CPAAA and the CPU? There is no financial reimbursement for all of Barry’s efforts or money to cover travel expenses; however, due to Tom Barry, Decatur is a safer community.