Houlton’s Border Patrol conducts Maine’s first Citizen’s Academy

Karen Donato , Special to The County
15 years ago

Five Houlton area residents just completed the first Citizen’s Academy sponsored by the United States Border Patrol Sector in Houlton.

These participants met every Wednesday for five weeks from 5 to 9 p.m. The Academy’s mission was to inform the general public of its overall mission and the function of the United States Border Patrol and the Houlton Sector.
The Academy was open to citizens age 18 and older, who were interested in learning about the history, legal authority, mission operations and partnerships of the Border Patrol. The participants received approximately 20 hours of instruction from agents and also listened to guest speakers, including federal and local law enforcement agencies.
Chief Patrol Agent, Joseph Mellia said, “The Citizen’s Academy is a great conduit that allows us to keep our citizens abreast of the Border Patrol mission and creates an open dialogue with the citizens that we serve. We are very proud of the area residents who have recently completed the class and we look forward to working with the next year’s participants.”
When asked if he would take the class again, class member, John Fitzpatrick said, “I would do it again in a minute.”
All participants were very positive about the experience and learned a lot about the partnership the agents with the Border Patrol have with other law enforcement agencies here and in Canada.
Senior Patrol Agent, Eric Lundgren said the Houlton sector plans to conduct this class twice a year and will also introduce it to the sectors in Fort Fairfield, Van Buren, Calais, Jackman and Rangely.
Those receiving a framed certificate besides Fitzpatrick were, Virginia Manuel, Leona Joseph, Jorge Alvarado and Sue Tortello.
Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Brent Conley and Eric Lundgren, senior patrol agent instructed the class, assisted by others in the Houlton Sector.