It almost slipped by without any notice to the residents of Vinton. It's National Police Week. In general, if you're like me, and I've said it before if you see a police officer your foot automatically lifts off of the accelerator and you say something like, "Oh no, what is the speed limit here??"
We completely forget that they are out there unless of course, we need them.
If we have a fender bender, we call 911 and they show up to fill out the necessary paperwork and then they are off to their next call. We also have K-9 officers on call as well, that are trained to assist our oficers when they are needed.
We are fortunate that in our neck of the woods we very rarely have major crimes in our neighborhoods. But on the rare chance that it happens, our guys and gals show up ready to restore order.
I appreciate the guys and gals that are out there. From our Sheriff, Ron Tippett, and our Police Chief, Ted Paxton, to the officers in their patrol cars out there, know that we appreciate all that you do for us. The county gets their coverage from our Sheriff's office and of course, the police department generally deals with all of us in town.
Some of the things we don't see is all of the paperwork the Sheriff and Police Chief and officers have to do for each case that comes their way. Then there's the paperwork that they have to do to request funding for a need that arises. There are the council and supervisor meetings that they have to sit through to discuss problems, or solutions or to ask for permission to change something that just isn't working for their departments.
I appreciate the seriousness with which all of our officers approach their job. It seems like this past year, well it just sucks for those who wear the uniform. It's been a tough one for our officers, most recently in the loss of one of their own. That's a job hazard that these folks deal with every day. It's a possibility that it might be the last time they give their babies a hug goodbye or the last time they will see their other half.
These men and women are out there for us, protecting us, assisting us, taking care of the riff-raff, and assisting folks when they face some of the worst times of their lives.
We expect them to just do their job and go home at the end of the day...but we forget that you don't just shut off what you just saw at work. Sometimes it goes home with them. If they're a good cop, it always goes home with them.
In all of the call to "defund the police" I wish there was an effort to lend a hand to our officers. Every department should have full-time support staff to help share the load, mandatory vacations to a beachfront property for at least a week, and meals prepared by a 5-star chef. Of course, that would never be built into any benefits package, but it should be. Unless your job includes seeing the results of horrific accidents, people being hurt at the hands of another, being shot at, and screamed at, at least once in your day, you probably wouldn't understand what a necessary change of scenery that might be.
Most of our officers never get to take exotic trips. Some never make it to retirement because of their job. But always, they're being scrutinized. Often more so than we ever are.
As we wrap up this week, let's take a moment to appreciate our men and women in uniform. It doesn't take much. Cut them a little slack if they aren't all smiley and chipper any time that you need them, you don't know what their last call was like. Give them a pat on the back when you see them. Smile and wave if they are sitting alongside the road (if you aren't speeding that is).
Most importantly, when you hear a story about how they were wrong, give them the benefit of the doubt. "Backing the Blue," sums all of this up, well, maybe all but the exotic vacation part. I would have to say that of all of the areas of our government from top to the bottom, these departments and our military are probably the only ones that deserve every taxpayer dollar that they get.
So back our officers today, tomorrow, and the next day.