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Police to host Citizens Academy starting Oct. 18

For the fifth time, the Peabody Police Department will be hosting its Citizens Academy program, giving residents an in-depth look at what happens beyond the front desk at PPD.

“We hope and expect that participants will graduate from the Citizens Academy with a newfound appreciation for what we as police officers do,” said Capt. Scott Richards, who leads the academy. “Participants will finish with a good deal of first-hand knowledge of how the department operates – it will be a real eye opener.”

Richards said he initially learned about the Citizens Academy when he was a patrol officer in Groveland. It was also mentioned during an executive leadership summit that he attended two years ago at Fitchburg State College.

“It was the consensus amongst those in attendance, given the anti-police climate and the misconceptions of the police, that a Citizens Academy may be a viable way to educate the public and hopefully stem the tide of negativity toward the police,” said Richards. “Since I had some past experience with the program I felt that I could bring the idea back to the Peabody Police and initiate a Citizens Academy here.”

He said the original plan was to have one session each year. However, the response from residents was such that two sessions have been required.

Some of the topics that will be covered include domestic violence, terrorism, motor vehicle law and patrol procedures.

Students will also be given the opportunity to participate in a firearms class, various motor vehicle stop scenarios as well as take a tour of the Middleton House of Corrections.

In addition to Peabody Police officers, the academy will be staffed by State Police officers as well as personnel from the Essex County District Attorney’s Office and Peabody Healthy Collaborative.

“The Citizens Academy allows residents to become much more familiar with the inner workings of the Peabody Police Department,” said Chief Thomas Griffin. “Participants gain an entirely different perspective into the community in which they live when they learn to see things through the eyes of a police officer.”

The academy will be held on Wednesday evenings at the police station, located at 6 Allens Lane. Classes will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. starting on Oct. 18 and concluding on Dec. 20.

For anyone who would like to enroll, applications are available at the police station and online at Richards said there are “20-25” seats available for the upcoming session. All applications must be received by Oct. 10.

By Christopher Roberson


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Longtime school board member makes City Council bid


After eight years on the School Committee, Thomas Rossignoll decided it was time for a change of scenery, and he is now running for councillor-at-large. “I have decided to run for councillor-a-large because I am committed to Peabody; I care deeply for my city and I want to see it prosper,” he said. “My commitment to my city is long-standing and unwavering.”

During his time on the School Committee, Rossignoll has been a party to the district-wide implementation of the math and technology curriculum, the installation and expansion of the Fred Berry Health Center at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School, the Simon Youth Foundation Learning Academy at the North Shore Mall and the new Higgins Middle School.

“I have had the pleasure of helping guide our school district and improve the educational system for all our students,” said Rossignoll. “As I have grown and my understanding of the city has expanded, I know I want help improve the quality of life for all citizens and look forward to bringing that citywide experience to the council. I never have a hidden agenda and will always fight for the city’s best interest.”

Rossignoll served as the School Committee’s vice chairman on two occasions and has sat on numerous subcommittees. “Being on the school board for eight years, I understand the budget process and what it takes to make tough decisions,” he said. “I will take the same approach with the city budget.”

In addition, Rossignoll said, he has gained valuable insight from his work as an in-home physical therapist. “Providing home care I have compassion, understanding and appreciation … for some amazing people going through some really tough times,” he said. “I understand the needs of our senior citizens, how even a little tax increase can affect someone, also how services to our seniors are vital.”

Rossignoll was pleased to report that his campaign has been going well thus far. “It is always a lot of work to run for office, but it is work my heart is vested in,” he said. “I have enjoyed meeting and talking to a lot of people, understanding residents’ concerns and trying to come up with solutions to solve complex problems.”

Although he is not one to compare himself to his opponents, Rossignoll said his experience with the senior population, budgeting and being a school official make him a good fit for councillor-at-large. “I think my diverse background give a unique perspective no other candidates has,” he said. “I do not have a hidden agenda, and I will work tirelessly to ensure the quality of life all Peabody residents deserve.”

Rossignoll said he is “concerned with Peabody’s future” and “I think some of the biggest problems facing our city are overdevelopment; we need to slow down developing every single parcel of land,” he said, adding that zoning issues have been triggered by downtown development.

Yet, Rossignoll said the city is on the right track moving forward. “Purchasing Tillie’s and dredging Crystal Lake are great first steps,” he said.

By Christopher Roberson


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