In Our Po­lice, We Trust

Maryland Independent - - News - By Ul­y­see Davis Pres­i­dent, Southamp­ton Home­own­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, In­cor­po­rated 2345 Southamp­ton Drive, Bryans Road, MD 20616 CP 301-758-2469

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.

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