From time to time during my last six years on the City Council, I have had numerous opportunities to ride with (Mt. Vernon Police Department) officers. My purpose was to learn more about the City and how our police interact with our citizens and how they keep them and their property safe.
I did learn a great deal about our city, especially between the hours of 9 p.m and 4 a.m. I see our city during the daylight and evening hours like everyone does, but thanks to (the) department and the officers that took me into their squad cars, I saw another part of Mt. Vernon. The expanded view provided, courtesy of the officers and department, helped me understand the needs of our city and how we might go about making it a safer and better place to live.
As I wanted the officers and learned how they performed their duties, I made several observations and came to some conclusions, I would like to share with (the entire department). The first observation is, that without exception, (the) officers acted in a professional manner. But that doesn’t really say it. I watched them as they interacted with people that were in need of caring assistance, reassurance, and compassion. They were the victims or witnesses to some event that most of us do not see or even know about. The officers met the needs of these people, with professionalism and with the compassion that was needed.
Of course, I also observed them confronting the ones who create the nuisances, who act in reckless ways, like DUI, putting others at risk, and occasionally the dangerous ones that reside in or invade or city. These are the situations that pull an officer out of the routine and the mundane hours they spend patrolling our streets. Long hours and boredom punctuated by tense moments and a rush of adrenaline makes for dangerous situations, especially for our officers. I witnessed more than a few of these in the past six-and-one-half years on the occasional rides.