July 13, 2016

The Ride Along

I have many titles and names that I am proud of (and some I'm not). But those included that make me proud...

Called and Ordained Principal (given to me by my Pastor)

And now...Deputy Principal! True story, here was my ride...

The weekend of July 4th, I had the opportunity to ride along with friend who also happens to be Lt. Detective Jason Kennedy with the Bedford County Sheriff's Office.

He even went out of character and wore his uniform so I could ride along (you may not know but detectives usually wear shirts and ties or something similar). Here is the proof...

Although I did not personally get to pull people over, shoot a gun, or perform a field sobriety test (did witness a couple). I did learn a great deal on my ride along. Here are a few things.

1. Our police, whether city or county, state or federal, work their tails off regularly.
Jason and I talked about his shifts, his duties and all things police related. Because I know Jason, I know for a fact that many times he gets called into work in the wee hours of the morning. His work cannot wait until normal business hours. I also found out that the deputies will typically work 12 hour shifts and in many cases, difficult shifts. Many will even take on other duties to earn extra money to help pay the bills. Like educators, the police are vastly underpaid but still go at it everyday.

2. They look after each other.
Numerous times, I witnessed Jason pull over to a location where another officer was located. This was not to catch up on old times but simply a reminder "hey, I got your back." They all look after each other. It truly is a brotherhood/sisterhood...or a family to be exact.

3. Our safety is in their best interest.
There are bad apples in EVERY occupation. There are bad doctors, bad teachers, bad cops, bad preachers...However, these folks are there to Serve and Protect. The police have a great deal of responsibility on their shoulders and the officers I met that night know it. It is serious business and it is treated as such.

4. Stress is part of the job.
Although we did not have any seemingly dangerous situations that night, I know they have them. There are some crazy and dangerous people out there. Heck, just the number of folks who were being field sobriety tested for DUI was shocking to me. I know Jason's and his colleague's jobs do not end when the shift does. What they did that shift stays with them. If it was an especially difficult day, it is hard for them to go home to families and act like nothing is wrong. Essentially, the family feels the stress as well.

5. What we do (educators) and what they do is really not that different.
It may just be easier to list the similarities:

Long hours
Not doing it for the money
Work almost always goes home with them
Both work with people they may not like (but give them the same attention as everyone else)
Both see the negative impacts of drugs, alcohol, crime etc.
There are positives every day that keep them going
Public servants
Community leaders
Role Models

...and plenty more.

I have always been a law enforcement supporter, now more than ever. I have friends who are in law enforcement and I worry about their safety but also know that they are in it, not just for me and my family but EVERY citizen. I thank Jason and the Bedford County Sheriff's Office for my opportunity. It truly was an educational experience.

Oh, by the way, in case you needed more proof of my new title, here you go.


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