Thanks for Citizens Academy support

Published 9:27 pm Monday, April 8, 2019

To the editor:

I am writing regarding the Suffolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office’s recent seventh Citizens Academy. The office provided the free academy for Suffolk citizens, ages 18 years and older, Feb. 28, 2019 to March 28, 2019, every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The Citizens Academy was very successful, graduating a total of 66 citizens.

The Citizens Academy taught the citizens of Suffolk about the mission, policies and day to day operations of the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. The curriculum was designed to educate the citizens on criminal law and decisions made by the Suffolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. The academy built a deeper understanding of this office and encouraged an open line of communication and cooperation between the citizens and the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. The citizens became increasingly aware of the realities of criminal cases.

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In addition, the Citizens Academy was enriched by strong partnerships which included presentations to the Suffolk citizens by Suffolk’s other four constitutional officers. This included W. Randolph Carter, clerk of the Suffolk Circuit Court; Sheriff E.C. Harris and the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office; Susan L. Draper, commissioner of the revenue; and Ronald H. Williams, Suffolk city treasurer. I personally would like to thank all of these constitutional officers and the staff of the sheriff’s office for their support during the Citizens Academy.

Also, I would like to thank Joan Turner, this office’s Community Outreach Coordinator, for her dedication and outstanding work in organizing, implementing, and presenting at this academy. In addition, I would like to thank the following employees of the Suffolk Commonwealth’s Office that presented to the citizens in addition to myself, which included Diane Bryant, victim/witness director and Brittany Landon, victim/witness assistant director; Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorneys Vaughn T. Breedlove, Thomas G. Shaia and T. Marie Walls; Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Derek A. Colvin; Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys Kara Webber and Heather Emmert; and Chief Investigator Neil M. Boone.

Finally, I would like to thank Ricky and Roy’s Catering, Food Lion and Kroger for their donations for the graduation reception held on Thursday, March 28, 2019. Our community is indeed fortunate to have such willing, charitable business partners.

We expect to continue having this free Citizens Academy annually in March and would encourage the citizens of Suffolk to enroll by contacting Joan Turner at 514-4379 or

C. Phillips Ferguson

Commonwealth’s Attorney