Law enforcement ready for anything

Published 11:49 am Tuesday, October 8, 2013

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

I think it really hit me when I was talking with Nathan Kendrick, a member of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Tactical Response Unit, last week.

We often view law enforcement officers as the men and women who show up in our rearview mirrors when we get a little too aggressive on the gas pedal, but these officers may one day be the only thing standing between us and a devastating situation.

“If something ever happened to my children or my loved ones, I would want someone who put in the time to train right,” Kendrick told me. “When I train, I always think ‘What if that was my kid being held hostage?’”

Kendrick is a highly trained sniper with the Tactical Response Unit, and is always ready to take up arms, should the situation arise, to save innocent lives all over Shelby County.

The men and women in our police departments and sheriff’s departments are people just like you and me, and most of them live in our communities with their families.

But there’s a big difference: Men and women in our law enforcement agencies could be called at any time to put their lives on the line to keep us safe.

While working on a recent story spotlighting local law enforcement snipers such as Kendrick, several of the officers said they frequently are asked why their agencies need trained snipers.

“If you think about it, most of the hallways in the schools around here are 70, 80 yards long,” said Clanton Police Department Cmdr. David Clackley, who graduated alongside Kendrick in a recent sniper class in Tuscaloosa. “If someone is holding a child hostage at gunpoint on the other end of the hall, you don’t want to try to shoot precisely with a pistol.”

I am very happy to know our local law enforcement agencies have invested the time to ensure our officers are trained for a wide range of potential situations. Heaven forbid they ever have to put that training to use in the real world, but thank heaven they would be ready if they had to.

Neal Wagner is the city editor for the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at