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The Lead Oct. 29, 2021: Citizens get a first-hand look at policing in Kerrville

Citizen Academy completes another successful course.


We made it! It's Friday. Another busy weekend awaits us as we ready ourselves for Halloween festivities across the Hill Country.


On today's The Lead Live, we'll be joined by Ada Kay, who will chat with us about sign language and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Later in the show, Karen Guerriero will be stopping by to discuss Kerrville Pets Alive! and their plans for the weekend. We're hearing something about kittens.


  • We had our 10th COVID-19 death in October, which is The Lead's count. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported the Oct. 22 death on Thursday. It appears nine of the 10 Kerr County deaths from COVID-19 happened in hospitals in San Antonio or elsewhere. The only Peterson Regional Medical Center death occurred on Oct. 14.
  • Texas state Rep. Matt Krauss wants to know if school districts have controversial books about race, sex, gender and sexual health in their libraries — and why. Krauss is the chair of a House committee that could investigate 850 books and their place in schools, including potentially here in the Hill Country. The Texas Tribune has the story here:
  • The NAACP urges professional athletes to re-think their commitments in Texas. "As we watch an incomprehensible assault on basic human rights unfold in Texas, we are simultaneously witnessing a threat to constitutional guarantees for women, children and marginalized communities," NAACP National President Derrick Johnson and NAACP Texas State Conference President Gary Bledsoe wrote in the letter. "Over the past few months, legislators in Texas have passed archaic policies, disguised as laws, that directly violate privacy rights and a woman's freedom to choose, restrict access to free and fair elections for Black and Brown voters, and increase the risk of contracting coronavirus." Here's the full story from ABC News:


The 26th class of the Kerrville Police Department Citizen Academy.

After five years on the road, Elaine Grabin is ready to settle down and make a home in Kerrville. She had crisscrossed the country in her RV, enjoying the travel, but she decided to plant roots in the Texas Hill Country in February.

To learn more about her new community, Grabin saw an opportunity to gain insight by enrolling in the Kerrville Police Department's Citizen Police Academy, joining 14 others in the 26th class offered by the department.

"I was just very interested in helping out," Grabin said.

On Thursday night, Grabin and her classmates finished the Academy's education with a sobering night of how to respond in the case of an "active attack." Taught by Sgt. Jack Lamb, the final course covered not only an active shooter situation but crises of all sorts.

Sgt. Jack Lamb receives an ovation from members of the class.

During the eight weeks of instruction, the class learns about all facets of law enforcement, including the use of force. However, Thursday's course about the ins and outs of a crisis presented the class with an all too familiar real-life scenario — mass attacks.

In two hours of breakneck instruction, Lamb presented a course focused on scenarios, case studies and best practices. In the session, Lamb discussed terrorist attacks in France, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and other events like the deadly fire at a White Snake rock concert that killed 100 people in 2003.

Lamb congratulates a graduate of the program.

However, these classes don't make police officers out of their participants but provide a pathway for further community engagement through the department. Many of these graduates will become volunteers — a critical component of the department's staffing.

At the end of the course, the program's alumni offered the recruitment pitch to help attract new volunteers. Jeff Smith completed his class in 2005 and is the longest-serving volunteer that came from the program.

"This class ended up shining a lot of light where there had been dark," said Smith, whose wife Brenda graduated from the ninth class.

For Jeff Smith, the real pleasure of his volunteer work is being another, and decidedly positive, face of the department. He enjoys patrolling the Guadalupe River Trail, but he's also interested in ensuring the program continues.

In the spring, Sgt. Lamb said he expects another class will emerge and another wave of potential volunteers will help fulfill the department's mission.

Tom Whiting, a member of a previous class, encourages this latest class to volunteer.


We got word of a few more Halloween events to enjoy this weekend. Here they are:


Halloween Organ Concert

First Presbyterian Church, 800 Jefferson St., Kerrville

3 p.m.

This is probably the unique event of the weekend — a Halloween-themed organ concert. Led by First Presbyterian's organist — Sabrina Adrian — this concert features the works of Luther, Buxtehude, Bach, Boellman, Paine, Correll and Ore. This event is free.

Family Fall Festival

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 202 Coronado Dr.

6-8:30 p.m.

There's a lot of fun here with chili and tamale cook-off (wondering if there will be any pumpkin tamales?). The event will have a cake walk, games and a mummy wrap of the church leadership.


Trunk or Treat

First Presbyterian Church, 800 Jefferson St., Kerrville

4-6 p.m.

This event will feature fun and games — and probably something sweet.

Trunk or Treat

Calvary Temple Church, Loop 534, Kerrville

5-6 p.m.

Another opportunity to have some fun and some candy.


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