Columbus Police Department thanks the community for support

Published 10:00 pm Friday, August 26, 2016

As a general rule most citizens are not happy to see us. You are either a victim of a crime, or on the receiving end of a traffic ticket, or a suspect being arrested. These are not pleasant encounters or something that you hope happens to you.

With the nationwide tragedies that have occurred against our profession as of late it is very easy for police officers to focus on all things negative as that is the common environment we operate in. We are an insurance policy. Something you pay for now so in times of emergency we are there but you hope you will never need or use us.

Out of all of this negativity and tragedy have emerged many citizens who have expressed gratitude to our agency and its officers. There have been numerous “thank yous” and handshakes. Officers’ meals have been paid for anonymously and donations made to the department. Cakes, cookies and cards have been brought to the department. Even smiles have been exchanged on the street in passing where once eye contact wouldn’t be made.

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Many say that our nation is facing its toughest times ever, especially in terms of policing. The last few weeks I have seen a transformation and positive spin resulting from all of these terrible situations. As past history has proven, difficult times bring our communities closer together. As a police leader, I have felt more appreciated lately than any other time in my 26-year career.

Make no mistake about it, extremely tough times are ahead of us but as always your police department will be here doing the very best job we can possibly do. We can only hope to build upon these positive community interactions we have had lately and utilize these relationships as we move forward.

Being an integral part of the community is a key to future success and that starts with these positive relationships.

However, this is only a foundation and continued success will require continued communication and interaction. We must not just think everything is at a good point and need to stop where we are and forget the progress we have made. That would be a huge injustice to those who have been impacted by the recent tragedies. Community relationships are a work in progress and that work must be continued into the future.

I would like to return thanks to anyone who has extended a handshake, a simple thank you or went out of your way at all to make a law enforcement officer feel appreciated. In the last several days, community organizations have come to the police department to show support for us. I would like to specifically thank LaurelHurst and LaurelWoods, St. Luke’s Hospital, and the Polk County Chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans who furnished breakfast, cards and certificates of thanks over the last several days.

~ Chris Beddingfield Chief of Police, Town of Columbus