Mt. Vernon Register-News

February 5, 2014

Officers deserve praise

The Register-News

---- — Editor:

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.

What I never witnessed, not even once, was a loss of control or lack of professionalism. Even when antagonized, which was unfortunately all too common, (the) officers maintained control while exhibiting restraint that comes with training, experience and supervision.

I want to particularly note Cpl. Brian Huff, K-9 officer and Sgt. Chris Webb for the most recent ride I took with them. I watched them as they patrolled the city. Two of your newer officers were on duty that night so I got to watch them in their capacity as supervisors. They executed their duties in an exemplary manner and provided instruction and helpful supervision. Mt. Vernon is well served by these two officers, as well as the rest of (the) department.

... It is an honor to serve on your council knowing we have a professional police department protecting our citizens and our city.

David Wood

Mt. Vernon