Still Waters: Thankful for ‘thin blue line’

As I work I have an ear on the police scanner that sits a few yards from my desk. I also have the opportunity to see police, sheriff’s deputies and Colorado State Patrol troopers in action through the course of my work. Sometimes the ladies and gents in uniform are responding to an accident or other emergency. Sometimes they are testifying in court hearings that I am covering. Sometimes they are attending events like community forums or city council meetings. Sometimes they are there on their own time.

I am grateful for the men and women who serve in law enforcement in this region and elsewhere. The ones I am most familiar with, of course, are the ladies and gents here. Their supervisors can be proud of the professionalism these folks display on a daily basis. Even more than that, these professionals are respectful to folks that might not be returning that courtesy in kind. I am always impressed with the patience and self-control our law enforcement possess in those types of situations.

We ran a story from the Colorado State Patrol earlier this week that shared result of a public opinion survey, which did not surprise me. The folks responding on Facebook and other media reported that when they had interactions with a trooper, communication was clear, and the troopers were professional, fair and honorable. Of the 3,200 responses received, 94 percent were satisfied that the Colorado State Patrol acted in a professional and honorable manner.

Although the survey was about the state patrol, I imagine similar responses could be garnered for other branches of law enforcement as well. Being honorable and fair is a great goal for all of us, regardless of our occupation, but it is not always easy to do when folks are aggressive, belligerent and angry, which is often the case with law enforcement. They are often seeing folks at their worst.

Most of us are grateful for the men and women who serve but probably do not thank them often enough or appreciate them as we should. We expect them to be there, 24/7, whenever we need them, and they are. No matter what time I am listening to the scanner, if there is an emergency call, there is someone in uniform to answer it.

I’ve come to recognize some of the voices, but I don’t know their names. There is a sweet young-sounding woman who serves in Costilla or Conejos County, and I often wonder how she keeps her positive, sunny attitude, which comes across in her scanner responses to calls. Retain that spirit young lady!

One night recently I listened to a call all the way through and was once again impressed at not only the professionalism and but also the kindness of the officer who responded. It was a call from a frightened woman who believed she was being followed. She had pulled into a public area but was waiting in her car. The dispatcher continued to communicate with her throughout the evening as she waited for the officer, who had to drive to her location. As the scanner chatter continued, I recognized who the lady was and knew something about her situation, as did the officer who responded. The woman was at the very least delusional. To her, however, her fears were real. The officer knew that probably no one was actually following this lady, but he responded to the call as if there was a real threat and treated with her respect, regardless.

He even followed her for many miles away from the scene until she was out of any perceived danger.

He didn’t have to act with such courtesy and kindness, but he did.

And for him, and so many like him, I am grateful.