Serve. Honor. Protect. Every day there are men and women who put themselves in dangerous situations to keep you and your family safe. May 15 - 21 is National Police Week and we're honoring law enforcement officers. Whether you're encountering a state trooper, police officer, or county deputy, they're job is to serve you and your community. And it's not easy dealing with people, often on their worst day. We asked nine officers what they wish the public knew about their jobs.
Senior Trooper/PIO Jody Cash began working with Kentucky State Police in 2011 but started a career in law enforcement in 1999. Trooper Cash says the most important thing the public should know is that officers are really motivated by the desire to help others. He adds, "I have 18 years in law enforcement and it's very rare that I see anyone in law enforcement that's not motivated by the same reasons that I am- just out of a servant's heart to do good and to help people."
Lindsey Miller is a deputy for the McCracken County Sheriff's Department. She tells us she wishes people knew that her colleagues can't make arrests on command. "That's a big one we run into a lot. And more or less a lot of cases we deal with take time to kind of go through and run its course. For our investigations and talking to people and sometimes it doesn't always work out the way everybody wants to. But we kind of have to go by what the law says, and what the county attorneys say, and things like that."
Sgt. Brant Shutt with the Murray Police Department says he wants people to know that "wherever you go, the police are there to help you." He adds, "Don't fall into the misnomer that police are scary and you have to do this without police. Just be respectful of police officers just like you would with anybody and the police officer will be there to help you."
Mike Ray worked for KSP for 22 years before retiring. He missed the job and returned as a Trooper R. He wants people to know he and his peers are part of your neighborhood. "We have families. We are part of the community. And I think it's important to show people who we are. It's something I've always tried to do my 22 years, is be part of the community so people can see the other side of ya know, the badge."
Calloway County Sheriff Sam Steger says officers sometime have to make split-second decisions that can change someone's life. He adds it was one of those decisions that landed him with an injured arm. "Ya know, I talk to people all the time that say 'why did you do this?' Or 'why did you do that?' And I guess the biggest thing I wish is that the community could see how quick and in just how short amount of time we have to make split-second decisions. And sometimes those decisions are... they're life and death."
Sgt. Todd Ray of the McCracken County Sheriff's wants to remind people that things often aren't as easy as you see on TV. He says some people expect answers right away but it can take time between procedures, laws, and investigations. He adds there are instances where they can't make an arrest on the spot. "There are very few misdemeanor arrests that we can make that didn't occur in our presence. Shop lifting, domestic violence assaults- we can arrest for- probable causes, dui's. Other than that, there's not too many misdemeanors you arrest for."
Adams Jones went to the academy alongside with Troopers Cameron Ponder and Eric Chrisman. Ponder and Chrisman died in separate incidents in 2015 while on duty. Jones says while he misses his peers, "it's it's part of it. To be honest. And when we decided to be troopers, we accepted the fact that that could happen to either one of us so. When we look back, we feel bad that happen to them. But we we realize that, you know, it could have been us too. We don't take for granted that we've got another day." He added, "part of our motto or creed is that we do what others do not want to do. We go where others fear to go. So, when people ask us what we do, we do what needs to be done but what people don't want to do. Nobody wants to make the decision to arrest somebody, for fear of being wrong for fear of getting it messed up. We a want to do what's right. What's fair. You have to make those decisions that nobody wants to make."
John Cooper is a Captain with Murray Police. He says law enforcement officers want to serve their community because they tend to sense there's something bigger than them. "And so, if anything, I want people of the community to understand is that we're just people. We've got sometimes a tough job. A lot of times we deal with people on the worst day of their life. But we try to do it with compassion. We try to do it with empathy. The reason why is because we love the community that we're serving."
Chief Deputy Mike Turbow for the McCracken County Sheriff's Department says he wants the public to know that the men and women in uniform are human too. "They are husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and they're human. They make mistakes sometimes. I want to think most of the time- 99 percent of the time- it's a mistake not made on purpose." He adds, "So it's a continual learning process. I've been in this 38 years in November and I learn something new every day. Laws change. Regulations change. Whatever it may be. Things change."
We want to thank each and every law enforcement officer. You go where many refuse to go for the sake of protecting our community.
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