Don’t take our public servants for granted

Pelham Police Chief Larry Palmer speaks to people at a South Shelby Chamber of Commerce event at Kai's Koffee House on May 12. (Reporter Photo/Emily Sparacino)

Pelham Police Chief Larry Palmer speaks to people at a South Shelby Chamber of Commerce event at Kai’s Koffee House on May 12. (Reporter Photo/Emily Sparacino)

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

In Shelby County, we are blessed to have some of the most compassionate and professional public servants in the country.

Our police officers and firefighters face untold dangers on the job every day, often with little thanks from us, the people they assist and protect.

I recently attended a South Shelby Chamber of Commerce event at which Shelby County Sheriff John Samaniego and Pelham Police Chief Larry Palmer shared updates from their departments, along with their thoughts on current issues nationwide that also impact local agencies – terrorist regimes, brutality and more.

They were both candid in their comments and earnest in their requests for the residents gathered at Kai’s Koffee House in Pelham to think about all public servants and to help local agencies by reporting criminal activity.

“We’re human beings, too, guys,” Palmer said during the event. “We’re so easily critical of police officers, and we’re trying to do the best we can. Sometimes, it’s a daunting task.”

I can’t imagine how daunting the task is.

We underestimate the sacrifice our police officers and firefighters make to better our lives. Many have families they say goodbye to each morning and hope to return to at night.

In light of National Police Week, Samaniego urged everyone at the event to reflect on officers who have died in the line of duty, and said he still talks to families of fallen officers.

“It’s something you never forget,” he said.

I’m guilty of checking the speedometer in my car when I pass a police officer on the road, in fear I’m driving above the speed limit and the officer will pull me over and give me a ticket.

Why do we sometimes lament seeing these officers––the same people we call on to help us in emergencies––patrolling our community? They’re simply doing their jobs.

We need to remember what our public servants go through just to do their jobs, and stop taking them for granted.

Shelby County wouldn’t be a great place to live without the men and women who willingly risk their lives to protect it.