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Sympathizing with their plight

Last week I listened to McDuffie County Sheriff Department officials talk with Dearing residents. (Complete details are in the story on page 1A). As they described their jobs, complete with the challenges and concerns, I couldn't help but notice there wasn't a shallow man among them. From pride to camaraderie to concern, the emotions ran deep in each officer.

Although it didn't seem the original plan, they addressed each issue as a group. They were concerned not only about the safety of residents, but for each other.

It took me back to my pre-divorce days when I was married to a law enforcement officer. From the early days of breakfast at Waffle House with all the guys at the end of a shift to the later days of family cook-outs at one of their houses, I remember the bond shared by the officers.

I also identified with the concern Maj. Ronnie Williamson expressed when he said too few officers stretched thin on a shift means less back-up for dangerous situations. I remember the nights my husband was on a stake-out, or patrolling a crime-infested beat, that I worried until he returned home. So many factors could have an affect on a situation: the attentiveness of the dispatcher, the availability of back-up, the response of the offender, not to mention reactions from other civilians or the media.

Although we are no longer married, I still worry. (Not as often because I'm not around to hear recounts of the crazy events). So I encourage everyone to attend the next Sheriff's Department Town Hall meeting. The exact time has not been established, but keep checking The McDuffie Mirror for the details as they unfold.

The meeting also revealed tips on crime prevention that sounded pretty solid. One comment during the meeting was how some people wrongly call 911 for driving directions.

I needed similar help Saturday when I navigated the corn maze at Old Frontier (that story is on 1C) with my younger son. When he appeared to be taking root on the couch with his game system earlier, I strongly suggested he accompany me through the corn maze. In typical teen fashion, he followed impassively behind me as we entered the corn field.

After I became distracted from a phone call, we were really lost. That was when Kevin took the lead. We ended up laughing a lot, and he managed to find the exit between the rows of stalks before we became too desperate. He'll never admit it, but I think I'm forgiven for making him go. In fact, he later asked if he could go back next Saturday and take his friends.

I'm planning to call his cell phone and distract him.

If it works, I just may have a quiet afternoon.

Web posted on Thursday, September 27, 2007

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