In Our Police, We Trust
The Southampton Community in Bryans Road and the Charles County Police under the excellent leadership of Sheriif Troy Berry will hold their Second Annual Walk With Your Police on May 13 this year. We will start at 10AM from the Southampton Tennis Court. Everyone is invited to walk with our protectors. Walking with them is good for our peace of mind – and for our heart, too.
This year's event will have our youth attending and walking together with our police officers. It is time for our children to learn and develop early an authentic encounter and friendship with those who serve and protect us – the police officers.
Somebody said that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. If we are talking about our liberty from evil human beings, we need to be talking of the particular human being trained and prepared to take the bullet first – the police officer. The latter is never afraid to die so others may continue to live.
In 27 BC, then Roman emperor Augustus organized a group of vigiles (watchmen) to do a two-fold purpose: one, to keep the peace of the community and two, to extinguish fires. Peace-keeping meant enforcement of the law. Stated more strongly, it was bringing the aggressor to justice and bringing justice to the aggrieved. Under the Roman law, nobody was above the law. Justice was done even if the heavens fell.
In England, community policing, which we now recognize as communityoriented policing, began and grew as groups of ten families watching their respective villages. Each group of ten families – or tithing – took responsibility of keeping the peace. And each county – called shire – was headed by a chief addressed as reeve. Shire reeve, when shortened, is sheriff.
This is the English system of law enforcement that American colonists implemented in New England. In the early 1800s, the first form of state police – the Texas Rangers – came into being. In 1845, New York City started to operate its police force which other U.S cities duplicated. And in 1905, Pennsylvania improved on the experience of Texas and created the first state police in the country. In 1921, Maryland founded its own police force to serve and protect the entire state.
Our county police organization – better named as the Charles County Sheriff 's Office – was established in 1658 with Nicholas Gwyther as its first Shire Reeve or Sheriff. Today, a very fine gentleman Troy Berry leads the office to serve and protect more than 150,000 people in Charles County. Assisting the Sheriff are more than 600 uniformed and non-uniformed personnel working in several divisions like patrol, criminal investigation, and corrections to name a few.
Then and now, the police institution is a subject of continuing reform and reformation. August Vollmer is a familiar name among uniformed personnel. A police reformer, he came out with ideas and practices to re-engineer the law enforcement profession in the early 1900s. As Chief of the Berkeley Police in California, Vollmer demanded the college education of police officers. He required the use of scientific methods in crime investigation. He commanded police officers to serve and protect the people - at all times and without fear or favor.
Charles County is fortunate to have – among other things – an absolutely efficient and effective police organization. This is one blessing we must love to count everyday. To continue to trust our police is one opportunity we can not afford to miss and ignore.
One very effective way to sustain the trust of the people is police visibility and accessibility in the community. The uniformed officers must be seen everyday walking and talking to residents. Their smiling faces and greetings of joy serve to provide assurance of security and safety.
Our police officers in Charles County can be trusted. They have done the county and the country proud. And that is an understatement.