To the Editor:
I just graduated from the Citizens Police Academy run jointly by the New Albany and Gahanna police departments, and I am so glad to have gotten a glimpse into their world.
As a recently appointed New Albany City Council member, I thought taking this course would be a good way for me to show our police force my support. After interacting with these men and women over the course of the past 10 weeks, they have much more than my support -- they have my utmost gratitude and admiration.
Living in a community where violent crime is less prevalent, I assumed that most days our law-enforcement personnel would not be exposed to dangerous situations, but I was wrong.
Every time our officers approach a stranger, they must be prepared for the worst-case scenario. When they ask someone for identification, they don't know whether the individual will pull out an ID or a firearm.
Our dispatchers never can be sure if they are sending an officer into harm's way when they respond to our residents' calls for assistance, yet they handle every encounter with respect, discipline and a confidence that undoubtedly keeps many situations from escalating.
Rest assured, our police force is very much prepared for that worst-case scenario, but they act as ambassadors of goodwill for our community while simultaneously protecting us from threats we likely will never even know came through our neighborhoods.
We are so fortunate to have these individuals out there every day working on our behalf. It was an honor getting to know them, and I recommend that others sign up for the Citizens Police Academy the next time it is offered in our community.