Earlier this year I got involved with my local Sheriff's Department Clergy Council. We advise the Sheriff's Department, find ways to benefit the deputies and make ourselves available for counseling and sometimes even help out with routine clerical matters. In an effort to learn what the deputies do and make myself available for service I've begun riding in the cars once a month. I'm trying to rotate all three watches to get to know the deputies and make myself known as well.
I'm not writing this to brag about my compassion. I want to praise the deputies. Of course I've seen them doing their duty with the stern conformity to the law that you'd expect. That's not a surprise. What did surprise me was a ride I did last week. My eyes were opened to the fact law enforcement officers can be compassionate people, too.
The first call we went to was an attempted suicide. I was impressed how well the two deputies cooperated with the firemen and interacted with distraught family members. But that was just the beginning. Later we went to a seedy street lined with empty duplexes. The call said dope was being sold from one of them. All we found was a lone guy sleeping in an abandoned building. When the deputies headed for their cars I asked if they were going to do anything about the squatter. Mine said something like; "he's not robbing a store, he's not burning the place down; its 40 degrees out and I'm not going to hassle him."
Those are two examples. I've seen more and talked with the deputies a bit. These are not wooden, authority-figure, cardboard cut-outs. They are people trained and dedicated to protecting you and me. They are people doing a largely thankless job. Without their efforts our cities would be ruled by chaos. I want to say thank you.