Sun, Dec. 15

Verde Valley Leadership hosts Criminal Justice Day

Cottonwood Police Chief Jody Fanning

Cottonwood Police Chief Jody Fanning

Class VIII of Verde Valley Leadership (VVL) hosted their criminal justice issue day on Friday June 20, beginning at the Yavapai County Sherriff's Office and Jail.

The day consisted of an inside tour with Captain David Rhodes, Lt. Scott Rushing, and Lt. Jon Jones. The class and guests were able to tour the jail, learn about the bond initiative for new jail plans in Yavapai County, and hear from officers firsthand about their experiences in the criminal justice field.

The group then proceeded to the Superior Court where they had the opportunity to view a criminal trial in progress with the Honorable Judge Michael R. Bluff and tour the facilities with Shelly Bacon.

In the afternoon, the group proceeded to the Business Assistance Center in Old Town Cottonwood to hear additional speakers and enjoy lunch together. After lunch, Chief Jodi Fanning of the Cottonwood Police Department reflected on his long career from patrolman to chief and how the City's police force has ever changing policies and strategies.

The City of Cottonwood Police Force can boast of 4 members including Chief Fanning being accepted and graduated from the prestigious FBI Executive Training Program in Quantico, VA.

Two speakers were able to focus their discussion for criminal justice on the issue of rehabilitation. Kennedy Klagge, Yavapai Deputy Public Defender shared the successes of the recent Yavapai Reentry Project and the need for volunteers in all professional fields to help in the process.

Andrea Baldwin, Founder of Equine Therapy Program related personal stories of the benefits of therapeutic riding classes, equine assisted learning, and equine assisted psychotherapy.

The entire day helped the Class understand the challenges in our area for adequate Jail housing, criminal offenses being committed, the discipline and experience involved in the field of criminal justice, and the need for rehabilitation.

Criminal Justice Issue Day marked the final Issue Day for Class VIII and the July event will focus on their first year wrap up as they work towards completing the second year of the program.

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