Sheriff Kevin Sproul: Thank You for Your Support
Monday, February 2nd, 2015
Being a law enforcement officer used to be considered a “glamorous” career. Television programs like “COPS” and others portray the officer’s time as full of intrigue and excitement. They don’t focus attention on the fact that they have to film several days just to get enough exciting footage to fill one short episode. They don’t show the officer getting off from a long shift, and then having to go to a part-time job to make ends meet. Viewers never see the vacations that get cancelled at the last minute because the officer received a subpoena or has been placed on a mandatory overtime schedule. They don’t show officers working twelve-hour shifts in a jail, with felons, gang members, and all manner of unsavory individuals, then go home and try to interact with their families like it was just another “day at the office.”
A law enforcement officer’s job is often thankless, with long hours and low pay. When situations do occur, they are usually highly stressful and require split-second decision that others will spend days dissecting and criticizing. Good decisions often go unnoticed but a single bad decision made in real-time under heavy stress can become the subject of national headlines for weeks. Officers live under a microscope of public scrutiny; a public that is often biased against them. This creates an environment that is extremely difficult to work in.
Recent events in Ferguson, Chicago, and New York have highlighted the challenges that modern-day law enforcement officers face. These events have also highlighted a stark difference between those communities and ours.
One of the most important things to any law enforcement officer is to have the support of the community he/she serves. That support is lacking in many communities around the country. Many communities are only now beginning to recognize the need to show support to their law enforcement officers; with displays of blue lights, wearing blue clothing, and other outward signs. Our community, on the other hand, has shown great support for local law enforcement all along.
Many civic groups and organization work tirelessly to build and maintain bridges with law enforcement. Neighborhood watch groups, Stop the Violence, and other organizations act as conduits between law enforcement and concerned citizens. We all work together to make our community better. Our community, more so than many others, demonstrates an atmosphere of trust and respect. This allows our law enforcement officers to better focus on their jobs without the distraction of constant scrutiny and criticism.
Every individual in our community makes a difference. We all have opportunities to act in a way that promotes the common good, or causes friction. We make these decisions daily, often many times a day. Every time a person decides to act in a way that benefits others, they are making our community better. I applaud such people. I appreciate everyone who works, lives, and acts on behalf of a strong, safe, and vibrant community. I am very proud to serve Dougherty County and help to make this community an example for others.
I want to leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Thank you again to our citizens who work tirelessly providing light and love in these dark times.