Volunteer Opportunity: TSA Canine Training

From Jack Diamond, HCCSAAA Marketing Committee Chair:
I have been contacted by Mr. William Ashby, Program Assistant, Transportation Security – Canine Office of Security Operations at Austin-Bergstorm International Airport who is seeking volunteers to participate in their Decoy Program. Last year twelve HCCSAAA members visited the TSA Canine Training Facility at Lackland AFB. Being able to see how the canines and their handlers are trained was amazing. Upon graduation, each canine and handler are assigned to a specific airport to detect various types of explosives.

Both the canine and handler continue their training at each airport and the TSA uses volunteers to act as decoys. Anyone may volunteer for this program as long as they are 18 years or older. If you are interested in volunteering for the Decoy Program I have attached additional information about the program. If you are interested you may contact Mr. Ashby directly.

Applications Open For Next Citizens Sheriff’s Academy

Sheriff Gary Cutler is pleased to announce that the Hays County Sheriff’s Office Citizens Academy is now accepting applications for the 2023 basic class. The course will tentatively start on February 16, 2023. The Hays County Sheriff’s Office Citizens Academy is a 45 hour program designed to give the citizens of Hays County a working knowledge of the Hays County Sheriff’s Office and the criminal justice system. This free program includes 12 weeks of instruction by Hays County Sheriff’s Office staff and other guest speakers. Classes are held on Thursdays from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM at the new Public Safety Building located at 810 S. Stagecoach Trail. in San Marcos, directly behind the Government Center.
The objective of the Citizens Academy is to build a better understanding between citizens and the Sheriff’s Office through education. The academy will help increase public awareness and increase Sheriff’s Office and community relations and rapport. Consequently, the Sheriff’s Office becomes aware of the feelings and concerns of the community from the participants through interaction. The instructors of this academy are supervisors, deputies, correction officers, and guest speakers who work in the areas being taught, and their training will give participants insight into the day-to-day operations of the Sheriff’s Office. In return, class instructors receive direct feedback from the class participants on the effects the Sheriff’s Office has on their lives.
Students will have the opportunity to tour the Hays County Jail, the Juvenile Detention Center, the Government Center, and the Public Safety Building including the state-of-the-art communications center if current COVID guidelines allow. Students will also have an opportunity to ride along with a deputy as an observer during a regular patrol shift.
The class size is limited to 24 people per class, so it is important to get your application in early. Applications may be obtained in person at the Public Safety Building or by emailing Deputy Mark Andrews at mark.andrews@co.hays.tx.us. Additionally, within the next few days you will be able to download the application from our website, www.hayscountytx.com. Applications must be received on or before February 10, 2023.
Those persons with felony convictions, or who are currently on parole, probation, or anyone who has been convicted for any offense involving moral turpitude are not eligible to attend. Applicants must be at least eighteen (18) years of age and either reside, or work, in Hays County. For questions regarding the Hays County Sheriff’s Office Citizens Academy, please contact the Hays County Sheriff’s Office Community Outreach Unit or Deputy Mark Andrews at 512-393-7373 or via email at mark.andrews@co.hays.tx.us Applications for the Citizens Academy may be mailed, faxed, or emailed to:
Hays County Sheriff’s Office
Community Outreach Unit
Attention: Mark Andrews
810 S. Stagecoach Trail
San Marcos, Texas 78666
Phone: 512-393-7373
Fax: 512 393-7879

Volunteer Opportunity: Work HCSO Inventory

Margaret Vieger, HCSO Inventory Specialist, is always looking for assistance in her new office at the jail. We are setting up Mondays and Wednesdays to work with Margaret, since we are no longer doing volunteer work as PSB Greeters on those days. You just go in the main entrance of the jail and she is the door immediately on your left. Thank you!

Lackland AFB: TSA Canine Training Session

On October 25th, eight Alumni members traveled to the TSA Canine Training Center at Lackland AFB to observe how the dogs and their handlers are trained. The TSA National Explosives Detection Canine program trains and deploys both TSA-led and state and local law enforcement-led canine teams in support of day-to-day activities that protect the transportation domain. These highly trained explosives detection canine teams are a reliable resource at detecting explosives and provide a visible deterrent to terrorism directed towards transportation systems.

TSA trains canine teams to operate in the aviation, multimodal, maritime, mass transit, and cargo environments. Considered the “center for excellence” for explosives detection canine training, the program is the largest explosive detection canine program in the Department of Homeland Security and the second largest in the federal government after the Department of Defense.

Special Items Up For A Vote @ August Meeting

Good evening Alumni!

There are a couple of items that we will place on the Agenda to vote on at the upcoming Dinner/Social meeting on TUESDAY, AUGUST 16th @ 6:30 p.m.; I will be sending out the agenda next week; but, I wanted everyone to have a chance to review what we will be voting on and ask any questions you may have. The Executive Board has unanimously approved each of these items to be brought to the members for a vote:
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HCSO Advanced Citizens Sheriff’s Academy

As discussed at the July 20th meeting, the Hays County Sheriff’s Office will host an Advanced Citizens Sheriff’s Academy. Classes will be held on Wednesday evenings from 6:30p to 9:30p for seven weeks from August 17th through September 28th. Class size is limited to 16 with priority given to first time attendees. Applicants must have already completed the Basic Citizens Sheriff’s Academy. Applications are now being accepted with a submission deadline of August 10th.

Link to Application (.PDF)

NOTE: The first class will be held at the Firing Range. For that reason, the following information is required in addition to the completed application:
Firearm Criteria:

    Do you own a handgun?

  • Semi-auto 9mm, .40 or .45 preferred.
  • Academy will provide 50 rounds
  • Holster
  • Spare Magazine
  • Magazine Holder
    Firearm Experience

  • Little or No experience with handgun?
  • LTC?
  • Prior Military or LE?

President’s Blog

Hi Alumni!

It’s been a while since I’ve sent out a PBlog; thought I’d catch everyone up on some happenings since the last one…I’ll be brief (LOL!)

We’ve had a lot of activities happening since back in March; I’d like to share a few highlights in order to remember some significant HCCSAAA moments.

The cheeseburger fundraisers we did in April and May to raise funds for the Sunshine Kids were amazing! Once again, we sold burgers at the Government Center and with pre-sales and walk-ups, we completely sold out all 400! We received many compliments on how delicious the burgers were and people really seemed to like the double patty presentation this year; something we will more than likely continue as it also helps in the cooking time. We did okay in Wimberley with pre-sales; however, the walk-ups were not as fruitful as we had hoped quite possibly due to the location we chose. Even with that, the sales in Wimberley worked out well and between the two locations and donations, the funds raised were phenomenal and greatly contributed to the Sunshine Kids Hill Country Adventure.

Based upon the work the Marketing & Fundraising Committee put in to ensure both events went off without a hitch, it was determined that the Committee needed to secure additional members to assist with ‘behind the scenes’ duties. Jack Diamond, Marketing & Fundraising Chair, has been working on securing additional active committee members to assist with Marketing & Fundraising Committee duties and as of now, the committee has a total of 5 active members including the Chair. This growth and the commitment from committee members will significantly help the Committee to continue to succeed in meeting the Association’s Marketing & Fundraising goals. Many kudos to Jack, Ruth, and the Committee for all the arduous work they continue to do not only to make these events fun; but, to put so much blood, sweat, and tears into researching and doing the things necessary to accomplish remarkable things!

The most recent Citizen Academy Graduation ceremony was held on June 2nd ; it was a great turnout, and everyone enjoyed the camaraderie, food, swag-bags, and door prizes. We had several graduates sign up to become members of the Alumni that evening: Goldie Kruger, Teri Holtzclaw, Nicholas Costilla, James Bryant, Jr., Michael O’Dell, Don William, Matt Wells, John Gagliardi, Bridget Fidler, and Stephen Albright. We also picked up another member from the Academy since then, Thaddeus Foster.

Welcome to our new members; we are excited to have you join us! Our new members have already become quite active; you may see Teri working the front desk at the PSB as she has signed on as a greeter. Bridget and Thaddeus have become members of the Marketing & Fundraising Committee. If you haven’t met our new members, please be sure to introduce yourself and let them know how happy we are to have them on board.

I can’t say enough about how much love, joy, and inspiration the Sunshine Kids (SSK) brought to our community! This was my first year to participate in this event and everything I had been told about how amazing it would be was absolutely on the mark! I am so incredibly grateful for what the HCCSAAA was able to contribute to these precious kiddos due to our fundraising efforts! We had the honor to pay for lunch at the State Capitol when the SSK took their ride into Austin for a tour; it was great to see the kids so happy, I even heard one of the kids overjoyed when she asked, “we can get anything we want?!!” The Alumni was also able to provide all the incredible prizes for the Bingo night; the kids adored the prizes and were so enthusiastic in sharing the game. A couple of tear-jerker moments where when some of the kids would win more than one prize and would automatically, without any prodding, give it up to another kid who hadn’t won yet. To say these kids are phenomenal is an understatement! The Nurses and the SSK staff were incredibly grateful for the ‘swag-bags’ the Alumni provided to each of them and the Jersey Mike’s lunch was enjoyed by all; one of the staff members had never had Jersey Mike’s before and she absolutely loved it!

I’d like to once again thank those who were able to volunteer and/or contribute to raising funds for these events. Without our incredible members, we would not have been able to share so much love and joy with these very special kiddos! If you weren’t able to join us this year, it is definitely something you should plan to help with next year; just being around these kids reminds us of how precious life is and that every moment is a chance to dance like no one is watching!

I’d like to take a moment to remember a true light in our world that was extinguished way too soon, Carol Cutler. Carol was a delightful inspiration to many; she spoke with the Sunshine Kids at the BBQ dinner night @ Rio Vista Park and cheered them on to fight the good fight. It was heartbreaking to hear of her passing, her light will continue to shine through the love she shared and the difference she made. Please keep the Cutler family in your thoughts and prayers.

Following SSK week, Gary Anderson, Ruth & Jack Diamond, and I attended the TCPAAA Conference @ Margaritaville on Lake Conroe; it was a fantastic conference as it provided the opportunity to talk with other Alumni groups and hear what they are doing in their area; in addition, there were very informative and incredible speakers. I connected with a couple of people who will be sharing some interesting concepts that we may be able to incorporate in our group; I look forward to speaking with them more when we are able to hook up. Unfortunately, the gift my husband and I brought home from convention was COVID and I have to say that it totally kicked our tails! I’m not used to being down for so long and was extremely disappointed that I had to miss the June meeting and the wonderful speaker we had. Thank you to those who checked in to be sure the buzzards weren’t circling; I appreciate your well-wishes!

I’m finally feeling like my Tigger tail has some bounce back and I am ready to be back in the saddle! I’m looking forward to hearing what the Marketing & Fundraising Committee presents for our Fall fundraiser (heck, I look forward to FALL!). Interviews for the HCSO History book were put on hold; but will kick off again within the next couple of weeks. Also, I haven’t forgotten about he HCSO T-shirts; we’ll be sending that order soon so if you haven’t already added your name to the list, please do so.

I’m sure I forgot something; but I’ll blame it on COVID. I look forward to seeing everyone at the July meeting! I’ll let you know who the guest speaker is as soon as it has been confirmed. In the meantime, enjoy your day and always remember that your time, effort, suggestions, and support considerably contribute to our success!

Thank you!

Cathy Gieselman, President
HCCSA Alumni Association
(512) 944-5569


Volunteer Opportunity: Sunshine Kid Sponsors

There will be twenty-four Sunshine Kids and six Pediatric Cancer Nurses arriving on Monday, June 6th for their one week Hill Country Adventure. The Hays County Citizens Sheriff’s Academy Alumni Association (HCCSAAA) is still looking for Sponsors to “adopt” Sunshine Kids. Each Sponsorship is $100 but any amount will help!

Your donation goes directly to the Sunshine Kids in the form of a gift card for them to purchase souvenirs or pay for incidentals during their week long stay and visits to the State Capitol, SeaWorld, Schlitterbahn, and other cool places. In some instances, offices have pooled money together to sponsor a Sunshine Kid.

Venmo, cash, or checks are accepted.

Checks or cash may be sent to (or dropped off at):
ATTN: Gary Anderson
810 S. Stagecoach Trail
San Marcos, TX 78666

In the past, Hays County has been a huge part of our success in helping these kids battling cancer to enjoy a week away from hospitals, treatments, and pain.

If you have questions please contact please contact Cathy Gieselman via e-mail at president@hccsaaa.org or via phone (512) 944-5569 OR Gary Anderson at gary.anderson@co.hays.tx.us.
The QR code attached goes directly to HCCSAAA Venmo Account.

Thank you for any help you can give!