By Jeff Jobe
Local law enforcement is an asset to the quality of life we enjoy here in south central Kentucky. I can write with a very clear conscience that overall the counties we serve are in good hands when it comes to police protection.
This protection comes from local police departments, county Sheriff’s departments and a cooperative effort from the Kentucky State Police. Efforts that are never ending with the high level of turnover these departments see each year.
It was just a few months ago that one of our community editors had a disagreement with a new KSP officer who tried to stop him from taking pictures of a crime scene and it wasn’t pleasant. Although my training program includes pamphlets that explain the do’s and dont’s of covering these type stories; and we know our rights occasionally we bump into an officer who doesn’t.
Our newspaper staff is trained not to disrespect the officer at the scene, but to instead phone our office and allow us to reach out from there. We do this and these type issues can quietly be resolved. After-all most understand that all we want to do our job as well and we have no interest in hurting them in doing theirs.
The rules of engagement are quiet simple, we respect the officers and in turn they respect us and we both get what we need in the end.
I have met some fine officers over the years and this includes Sheriffs, Chiefs and Post Commanders. At times, it is politically positive not to like or even respect police officers and in today’s society this same disrespect can be transferred to us in the media as well.
As someone who quietly stands on the sidelines watching our police officers do their jobs, I am more times than not, very impressed with the professionalism of these departments and their desire to convey respect to me and those involved in the investigations as well.
Most mistakes are made by rookie police officers, and politicians and most of them are small ones that can be used as training examples when pointed out to them. This is true for any of our professions. I myself have had to learn a few lessons.
As I enter into my third decade of covering news, I have rode with officers at night, I have rode horses in the woods searching for marijuana and I have spent days watching them receive training to become officers. All these experiences were presented to me and members of my staff because of the relationship we have with our local law enforcement.
Over those years I have witnessed officers being shot, assaulted and placed in some serious danger while doing their jobs. Naturally when someone cranks up the threat toward an officer the response is also cranked up. I believe this should be expected yet I have personally witnessed examples of control like never before.
A few months ago I watched as an older Caucasian male drive his pickup truck to the town square in Glasgow and set up camp beside one of the statues on the courthouse lawn. He did this bringing with him shotguns, handguns and maybe a deer rifle or two. His mission was to protect the statue and clearly a whole bunch of alcohol had fueled his mission.
This day could have very easily went real bad. But instead some fine officers calmly approached him from different angles and quickly had the situation under control. I was very impressed and I hope this fella realizes how lucky he was not to have been killed.
This same type of professionalism was displayed when another young man of color chose to come to town with a hand gun and discharge it out his vehicle window while partaking of drugs, having drugs in his vehicle and operating on an expired license. This drug induced joy ride happened at about 2am and he lives to tell about it.
Can you think of two people more lucky to be alive than these two? They are alive because of some fine police work and these type of examples happen every day for local law enforcement.
Most don’t go looking for confrontation they simply respond to the needs of our community.
I am very proud to know that we have some fine officers serving our communities and I am proud to partner with local businesses and individuals to shine a light on them when possible.
Jeff Jobe is founder and CEO of Jobe Publishing, Inc. His commentary reflects his personal views and does not reflect the views of personal or professional associations and affiliations. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his previously published commentary at www.sckentucky.com